MiDO Foundation opens hub at school in Paarl

Pictured in the new hub opened at New Orleans Secondary School, from left, are New Orleans head girl, Tori Pietersen; New Orlean’s principal, Andrew Groeneveld; executive director of the MiDO Foundation, Daniel Solomons; New Orleans deputy head girl, Tendani Chebani; and Jean Rossouw, head: financial education in marketing and communications at Capitec Bank.

The MiDO Foundation was able to open yet another digital hub in less than five months – this time at New Orleans Secondary School in Paarl, thanks to a donation.

In October, a digital hub was unveiled at Lückhoff High School in Stellenbosch.

“You can disrupt almost anything with technology. Capitec disrupted banking through innovation and technology,” said Jean Rossouw, head: financial education in marketing and communications at Capitec Bank, which made the donation, during the launch of the hub.

Ms Rossouw said they believe the “space will allow learners to explore and collaborate with and through technology” and that the hub can “serve as an enabler that will support innovation and learning”.

“When it comes to technology, we should embrace change. The pace at which digital innovation and disruption is happening will continue to increase. As teachers and parents, we need to embrace technology for its potential to empower learners.”

New Orleans was one of a few schools that were evaluated on its readiness to open a digital hub and to implement and use technology for learning and teaching as well as the development of pupils to become digital citizens.

Andrew Groeneveld, New Orleans’ principal, has been at the school for 38 years – first serving as a teacher for six years and then leading the school in various management capacities for 32 years.

He said he was excited to have a digital hub at New Orleans and content in the knowledge that the school’s pupils and teachers had a space on the school premises now that would provide them with the opportunity to learn and expand their digital skills and digital literacy.

“The moment I heard we had been selected to receive this hub, I created a committee consisting of some of our staff members, many of whom are young and quite technologically advanced. They will be our hub champions and will work together with Tarryn Theunissen, our digital hub co-ordinator, to come up with new and refreshing ideas about how this space can be used to its full potential and how we can continue to grow our learners’ digital knowledge and experience,” explained Mr Groeneveld.

Digital hub co-ordinators are appointed by the MiDO Foundation to work in the digital hub to develop the digital and IT skills of pupils and to guide them as they explore the technology on offer.

Ethan Achilles, a young man from Idas Valley, was responsible for designing the new hub.

Addressing the sponsors, Mr Groeneveld said: “Our sincere thanks for your willingness to invest in the community of Paarl as well as other communities in our province. With this investment you are actually investing in the future of our country as this hub can help our learners and therefore our communities prepare for the careers and professions of the future. Professions such as graphic design, robotics, coding, videography, and photography.”

According to Dale Simons, managing director of MiDO Technologies, the hub forms part of the foundation’s vision and mission to equip the youth with digital skills, digital literacy, and digital citizenship skills.

“We want to create pathways out of poverty for the youth of this country. That is what drives us. We want to address systemic poverty and economic dispossession and exclusion by ensuring our youth have the skills to uplift themselves.

“We often talk about creating jobs for our youth, but how can we create jobs if we are not also providing our youth with the skills they’ll need to do those jobs. We want our youth to see how technology can empower them and that is why our hubs are learner-centred and based in schools,” explained Mr Simons.

Rodwin de Wet, head boy of New Orleans Secondary and deputy head girl Tendani Chebani gave input on the hub. “The hub is unlike any other class. It is a place to have fun and learn with increased efficiency. It will provide learners with the opportunity to learn digital skills, explore technology and expand their knowledge, which will open up a new world for them as they can now search for and apply to university, and increase their chances of finding a job after finishing school,” said Tendani.

Rodwin thanked Capitec, PAV, Cecil Nurse, and the MiDO Foundation for making the hub a reality at the school. “It feels like a place where learners can express their creativity, where they can apply their knowledge and skills to real-world problems,” he added.

Pupils from New Orleans Secondary School makes use of the Chrome books that are available for the pupils’ use in the hub. Pictured, from left, are deputy head boy, Andruwaldo Lakey; head boy, Rodwin de Wet; deputy head girl, Tendani Chebani; Ethan Achilles, hub designer; and head girl Tori Pietersen.