Stellenbosch University
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Local schools benefit from SU computers
Author: Ilse Arendse
Published: 07/06/2013

​​A total of 86 computers were donated to various schools on Monday 3 June thanks to Stellenbosch University's (SU) Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering (EE) in collaboration with Matie Community Service (MCS) and Information Technology (IT).

The recipients, Stellenzicht High School, Weber Gedenk Primary School, Raithby Primary School as well as the Middelvlei After School Care programme, are schools where SU students are already actively involved as part of MCS's One-Stop Service projects, said Mr Gareth Cornelissen, Head of MCS.

MCS, one of the Community Interaction Flagship Projects of SU and also a HOPE Project initiative, provides for the needs of communities inside and outside Stellenbosch and has been a trusted service provider for 49 years. The One-Stop Service forms part of these services and leads student groups in providing sustainable, effective community service projects in partnership with established non-profit organisations. The One-Stop Service projects have different focuses and address issues such as educational assistance, life skills development, sport coaching, arts and culture and health promotion.

On a previous occasion Ms Michelle Pietersen, Senior Project Manager of the One Stop Service, said there are about 1200 volunteers in the programme between the Tygerberg and Stellenbosch campuses, which benefit more than 3 000 people.

Prof Thomas Jones, Head of SU's EE Department said his department was but one cog in the wheel when it came to donating the computers. "Our undergraduate electronics laboratories are kitted out with around 180 modern computers. We update our computers to be able to run complicated and intensive simulation software used by our students. As such, when we are forced to renew and replace our computers, these computers are indeed still very useful to others for most applications.

"After a recent upgrade, we realised that it would be a shame to let such computers go to waste. We then decided to contact MCS and IT to help us donate these computers to schools in need of such equipment. IT did an excellent job to help us refurbish the computers and MCS identified the schools in need of the equipment. All of the staff involved helped to do this because they realised the value of this endeavour."

According to Prof Jones, they will definitely consider donating more computers in future. "We regularly renew our lab computers and would definitely consider donating these computers in the same way. This is a great example of SU entities working together for the good of our communities. This type of initiative is good for our communities and for our university: We help to improve the computer facilities at our local schools, so that these schools can ready scholars for the challenging technical programmes at SU, resulting in a win-win situation for all participants."

Mr Lester Allies, principal of Stellenzicht High School, said they definitely have a need and always appreciate equipment in good working order. "These computers have come at a welcome time and will definitely be put to good use."