One of the Cape Digital Foundation’s key emphases is to ensure that young people in underserved urban communities have access to digital skills training through the Foundation’s partner-training initiatives on-the-ground. The spring board to these initiatives is easy access to premium Internet connectivity at an affordable price. With connectivity and then digital skills in place, further opportunities, in the form of access to digital and entrepreneurial ecosystems and tertiary education for those who want to build a career in IT or software engineering, are the next vital steps to the building of smart townships from the ground up.
CDF teams up with TooMuchWifi
Though collaborating with TooMuchWifi – the first of several Wi-Fi providers in the Western Cape with whom the Foundation hopes to work in the near future – Harentals Academy in Dunoon now enjoys affordable connectivity at the school. Harentals Academy currently teaches approximately 400 primary and secondary learners.
TooMuchWifi impacts lives. They equip township consumers who have been historically “data-strapped” with premium quality bandwidth at an affordable price. They put up robust Wi-Fi hotspots situated at convenient community venues that have been decided upon in conjunction with the local community. TooMuchWifi consumers who previously could not afford the high cost of data now get to enjoy internet freedom and are able to consume digital content without racking up a large data bill.
CDF teams up with WeThinkCode_
On Tuesday 5 June, Cape Digital Foundation and WeThinkCode_ teamed up to visit Harental Academy to encourage their students in Grade 11 and 12 to consider a career in software engineering – and to go through the application process that will give them an opportunity to be accepted into an international-standard 2-year course in coding – free of charge.
Educating South Africa’s smart citizens of the future
WeThinkCode_ offers a 2-year tertiary course in software engineering – in coding. Their selection process is innovative. Applicants between the ages of 17 and 35 are invited to play three mandatory on-line games designed to vet their problem solving abilities and out-of-the-box thinking. Those who crack the games are invited to attend a 4-week coding boot camp, free of charge. The top 30 percent of these ‘bootcampers’ are selected to attend WeThinkCode’s 2-year course, on campuses in Cape Town and Johannesburg. Two four-month internships are built into the course and when students graduate it is highly likely they will be offered full-time employment by WeThinkCode’s high-end corporate sponsors.
It is very exciting to see a school get connected with reliable, affordable access to the Internet. It is also exciting to be able to open the eyes of senior students to an opportunity to study further should they have the passion and aptitude to take up a career in software engineering. These are the tools and opportunities that are routinely open to smart citizens across the globe; and in the hands of young South Africans who live in urban communities they are the tools through which these smart citizens will build smart townships.