Africa Teen Geeks targets digital divide in South Africa’s schools

The digital train has left the station and is on its way to the final destination. But before it gets there, it will be stopping at each South African institution of learning to embark pupils, students, school administrators and bystanders, in short everyone who is suffering from the syndrome called Information and Technology (IT) illiteracy.

And that train is being driven by African Teen Geeks, a centre of IT excellence based in Bryanston, a posh suburb north of Johannesburg.

Africa Teen Geeks founder and CEO, Lindiwe Matlali, aims to create awareness about the plight of school children who attend schools that lack everything from computers to IT labs, printers, internet connection, and are being taught by digitally unqualified teachers. And these school kids are supposed to be the leaders of tomorrow.

Africa Teen Geeks’ objective is to fight the digital divide that continues to plague the school system more than two decades after the end of apartheid.  Children are being trained in computer science, including how to make better use of latest technology to launch a startup.

The journey is long, littered with unpredictable challenges and the task is mammoth, prompting ATG to seek powerful helping hands from Standard Bank and Oracle to accompany it to the final destination.

Furthermore, ATG also wants to ensure that it is surrounded by well cooked technology brains, who can provide assistance and top expertise needed to inject the digital intelligence into the trainees’ minds.

As part of its latest activities (Festival of Code, Ideathon), ATG brought Robinne Burrell all the way from the US. Burrell, who is currently the Executive Chair for the Television Academy Emmy Awards Group in Interactive Media, among others.

Burrell, who has held top management positions at corporate giants such as Universal Music Group and Sony Electronics, recently assisted ATG, Oracle, Standard Bank and the South African ministry of education to come up with a digitised, interactive educational platform for Core curricula.

“Using animation and high engagement multimedia features, students will have access to their studies on web and mobile platforms to enhance their studies as part of asynchronous classroom study,” ATG said.

Photo: US-born Robinne Burrell (third from left) with Africa Teen Geeks trainees at the Festiva of Code in Pretoria.

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