The Parkwood Technology Centre (PTC) is an initiative in partnership with the South African education nonprofit Bottomup to create technology access and computer training in the community of Parkwood in Cape Town. We aim to renovate and expand an existing computer lab at Parkwood Primary School (PPS), upgrading technology and creating a space that will enhance student learning and provide computer access for the entire community.
Parkwood was formerly designated as a “Coloureds Only” area under Apartheid, but 20 years later, the effects of systemic racism in Parkwood are still apparent. The community experiences 40% unemployment and high levels of gang violence and crime. Only 20% of residents have finished high school, and 30% do not complete primary school. Technology access is extremely limited for all in Parkwood, as there are no public computers within a 3km radius. In response to these issues, our nonprofit partner Bottomup runs a small computer lab at PPS for an award-winning computer-based extracurricular math program. Since their pilot in 2014, the percentage of Grade 3 learners passing the national exams doubled from 26% to 51%. However, the existing lab is undersized with unreliable technology, limiting Bottomup’s programs to half the school’s learners.
In order to support Bottomup’s efforts, we are collaborating to design the new PTC to serve as a central learning hub for learners and for the community, providing convenient and affordable access to computers to combat high unemployment and dropout rates. We are working with local architects and engineers to double the size of the lab and upgrade its technology and facilities. The improved center will accommodate all learners in Bottomup’s impactful programs and will empower teachers with technology skills to improve the quality of education at PPS. The PTC will provide much-needed access to computers and training to enable success in the digital age.
Funded by Awesome Without Borders (March 2016)