Born To Be Free, a non-profit organization, today said it strive to ensure that Africa’s future leaders are adequately skilled to partake in the Fourth Industrial Revolution and are not left as spectators, as has been the case in the past.
The first industrial revolution used water and steam power to mechanize production.
The second used electric power to create mass production.
The third used electronics and information technology to automate production.
Now a fourth industrial revolution is building on the Third, the digital revolution that has been occurring since the middle of the last century. It is characterized by a fusion of technologies that is blurring the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres, according to Klaus Schwab, the founder of World Economic Forum.
In a democratic South Africa, Born To Be Free believes one’s birth shouldn’t be the defining factor as to whether or not they will do more than spectate in the fourth industrial revolution.
But how does one adequately equip themselves for this new dawn of the fourth industrial revolution?
This can be done in numerous ways, but the foundation lies in one’s ability to interact with technology around them, explain Born To Be Free.
“As a student in primary school, this can be done through integrating basic computer skills into their everyday learning. However, most underprivileged schools in South Africa lack basic amenities, yet alone fully operational computer centres with working internet,” said Anda Ngcaba, the chairman of Born To be Free.
“This has led to an ever-increasing gap in basic computer skills amongst the youth of South Africa, those who can afford private schooling are given more than enough resources to ensure they are prepared for the future. However, those in government funded schools in underprivileged areas do not have this advantage.
“Consequently, when a child from an underprivileged school somehow finds her way into the working world, they often lack the foundational technological skills to compete with their fellow citizens who grew up better off.”
In ensuring that this is changed, Born To Be Free plans to teach students basic computer skills.
The organization is not trying to install a computer centre in every school around South Africa. Instead, Born To Be Free takes time to find one or more schools per area where all students in the area can come and learn basic computer skills.
These classes are held on Saturday mornings and run for two hours and they are for students ranging from grade 4 to 7. The classes are staffed by volunteers from universities in the area who are able to take time aside on a Saturday to educate the future leaders of tomorrow.
After 4 weeks, the students are given an assessment to analyse their performance.
Currently, Born To Be Free has built one computer centre at West End Primary in Mitchells Plain, Cape Town.
This centre was completed in early 2017 and targets students from all over Mitchells Plain.
“The response has been very positive. There has been a large attendance from students from all over the community, and the parents are extremely happy that their children are doing something constructive over the weekend, said Ngcaba.
He added that Born To Be Free is currently looking to expand operations to a second school in the Cape Town area.
The organisation has plans to take project nationally.
Ngcaba said the organisation is currently looking at schools in Johannesburg where we could open a Born To Be Free centre. “We are just looking to create a working team that side that will coordinate with our board of directors.”
The organisation is keen to partner with donors to either assist with spare computer parts they may have lying around their homes or offices, cash or time, he said.
Born to Be Free is also looking to partner with individuals or organizations who wish to help it expand operations.
“We consider ourselves an open-source NPO, in the sense that we allow for anyone to open a Born to Be Free centre and have access to all of our teaching material,” said Ngcaba.