The following is the text of a letter written by a group of Grade 11 learners, calling on mobile networks to make Wikipedia available free on phones.
We are learners in a Grade 11 class at Sinenjongo High School, Joe Slovo Park, Milnerton, Cape Town. We recently heard that in some other African countries like Kenya and Uganda certain cell phone providers are offering their customers free access to Wikipedia.
We think this is a wonderful idea and would really like to encourage you also to make the same offer here in South Africa. It would be totally amazing to be able to access information on our cell phones which would be affordable to us.
Our school does not have a library at all so when we need to do research we have to walk a long way to the local library. When we get there we have to wait in a queue to use the one or two computers which have the internet. At school we do have 25 computers but we struggle to get to use them because they are mainly for the learners who do CAT (Computer Application Technology) as a subject. Going to an internet cafe is also not an easy option because you have to pay per half hour.
90% of us have cellphones but it is expensive for us to buy airtime so if we could get free access to Wikipedia it would make a huge difference to us.
Normally when we do research Wikipedia is one of the best sites for us to use and so we go straight to it. The information there is clear, updated and there is information on just about every topic.
Our education system needs help and having access to Wikipedia would make a very positive difference. Just think of the boost that it will give us as students and to the whole education system of South Africa.
From Sinombongo, Sinako, Busisiwe, Ntswaki, Bomkazi, Lindokuhle, Ntsika, Patrick, Ndumiso, Sinazo, Bathandwa, Nokuthembela, Lutho, Mandlilakhe, Zingisile, Aviwe, Nezisa, Ncumisa, Nokubonga, Pheliwe, Zama, Unathi, Malixole and Ntombozuko.
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