TWO Motherwell “eco-schools” were the recipients this week of tens of thousands of rands worth of equipment and furniture to help them learn better. The 26 maths and reading software packages, 100 desks and 200 chairs were donated by ABB after the power and automation giant participated last year in a Wessa eco-schools’ workshop in PE.
Managed by the Wildlife and Environment Society (Wessa), the eco-schools’ programme includes about 1600 schools across South Africa, over 100 in the Eastern Cape and 30 in the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality (NMBM) alone.
The programme is co-ordinated by Wessa and schools enrolled are taught by environmental education officers from the different Wessa branches, usually in partnership with other NGOs.
In the NMBM, this includes Samrec and the Swartkops Conservancy. Eco-school pupils learn about and participate in a range of issues and activities like plant identification , hiking trails, mud bank exploration, Marine Week and water quality testing.
The workshop last year that was the catalyst for this week’s donations was in Motherwell and focused on energy efficiency. ABB group communications’ and sustainability manager Chesney Bradshaw was there and he was both impressed and concerned by what he saw Wessa environment education officer Pearl Jonas said yesterday.
“He saw how well some of them were doing with their energy use calculations, but at the same time he saw how in the classroom some of them had to sit on empty paint tins and piles of old tyres instead of desks.
“He saw the problem of these schools being under-resourced but at the same time how some are putting in great efforts to succeed despite their problems.”
Bradshaw took this message back to ABB South Africa’s HQ in Johannesburg, and donation packages were then approved for Canzibe, because of the particularly poor learning conditions there, and for Dumani because of the effort and aptitude shown by pupils at the workshop. Another guiding factor was that Dumani already has a suite of computers, donated by the Motherwell Urban Renewal Project, and the computer room is well secured.
The 26 Rock Software Series packages donated this week to go with these computers cost R6000 each. The packages were sourced from the Gauteng-based software developer Chanine Nel. She was also at the donation event on Tuesday at the school, together with senior members of the regional office of the basic education department.
The packages offer interactive tuition in maths grade R to grade 10 and include as well the maths mind-development game Soduko. They further include an e-dictionary to aid English learning. ABB also paid for their installation by a technican.
At Canzibe, the desks and tables filled five classrooms. Jonas said this donation was also extremely significant.
“Pupils cannot study well if conditions are not conducive. Now they are comfy, this will encourage them to concentrate on what the teacher is saying.”
“The pupils and staff were so excited when the donations arrived. It was great to see the boys getting involved and helping with the off-loading.”