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Computer Sponsorship for SA School Children

The year ends on a good note for South African education. The winning schools of massive computer sponsorships have been announced: part of an effort to introduce computers into the education of disadvantaged children.
November saw the announcement of the names of those schools who`d won sponsorships for computer software, hardware and services. This was the result of a partnership aimed at introducing computers into the education of disadvantaged children. One of the “next big things in computing”” was part of the prize: server-based software technology, which allows you to run Windows software on old PCs by using a kind of “”Windows mainframe””, resulting in sizeable cuts in running costs.
This server-based computing sponsorship project originated as a means of solving some of the main problems faced by schools and other organisations implementing modern Windows-based computer systems – the Total Cost of Ownership of PC systems. The project`s founders – Mish Middelmann, co-founder and CEO of Praxis Computing in Johannesburg, and Ed Iacobucci, founder and chairman of Citrix Systems in the USA – agreed that a system operating on Citrix`s Metaframe software in conjunction with Microsoft`s Terminal Server would offer great opportunities for schools. It would enable them to run effective systems at a lower cost by centralising administration and support: enable the use of simpler, cheaper desktop computers: and still deliver the full merit of the Windows environment.
They challenged the computer industry to support this initiative by sponsoring SA schools serving previously disadvantaged communities. The schools, on the other hand, were challenged to join in this partnership to build effective systems using computers in education. Both sides rose to the occasion.
From the computer and IT industry, sponsors have pledged over R700 000`s worth of assistance to the winning schools – one in Gauteng and one in the Western Cape. These sponsorships include software, licenses, a server, rinter/scanners and training. Sponsors included big names such as Workgroup: Microsoft SA: Dell SA: Praxis Computing in Johannesburg and Rorke Outsourcing, Symantec, Corel, Hewlett Packard, and IT-IQ.
Schools applied for the sponsorship via the Web. Candidates were then shortlisted on the basis of their ability to bring computing to previously disadvantaged SA communities, where there are currently few or no computer facilities.
The winning Gauteng school was St Francis College – an independent, non-profit school outside of Benoni, which serves the surrounding East Rand townships of Tsakane, Daveyton, Vosloorus and Wattville. It is the only disadvantaged school in the district to have achieved 100% matric pass rates for the past three years.
The Western Cape winner was Alexander Sinton – a government school that serves a large working class community, incorporating Mitchell`s Plain, Langa, Guguletu and Athlone. The school also has a number of community projects on the go. For instance, the Adult Basic Education Training (ABET) learners` programme aims at helping senior citizens, employed people and unemployed people to finish their nschooling.
There seems to be strong community support in both Gauteng and the Western Cape for the project. These sponsorship programs are sure to aid these two schools in providing effective computer education for disadvantaged students, and to make the most of the scarce resources they have: a great leap forward for South African education.”

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