The second class of CompLit4U students show-off their certificates supported by their facilitators at the back.

Computer Literacy Project for Cleaning Staff

The Science and Technology Education Centre (STEC@UKZN) piloted the second phase of its CompLit4U outreach project, which aims to provide UKZN cleaning staff with basic computer literacy skills.

The project was initiated by the Co-ordinator of STEC@UKZN, Dr Tanja Reinhardt and colleague Mr Sashlin Girraj, who developed the curriculum, secured participants, obtained resources and taught the content.

The first phase of the pilot project was run in July with 10 cleaning staff members involved while the second phase took place in October and had a mix of cleaning and facilities employees. The course covered several topics, including: computer basics, Microsoft Word, how to use the internet, how to send an email and computer/online security.

On the final day of training, participants were given topics to teach back to the class and were issued with a certificate of participation.

Participant Mr Brian Mhlongo, who has worked for Campus Management Services (CMS) for the last four years, said he found the training to be very beneficial. ‘Thanks to this training, I know how to apply for leave and send an email.’ Colleague Ms Sithembile Mngambi commended the University for the initiative. ‘I’m very proud of the University for giving us the chance to learn how to use a computer,’ said Mngambi.

Reinhardt recently attended the Southern African Association of Science and Technology (SAASTEC) conference in George, which is an annual meeting of professional science centres in the country. She presented on CompLit4U, as an outreach project of STEC@UKZN. ‘CompLit4U should be considered inreach rather than outreach, because the project is about reaching into the university and up-skilling our own people,’ said Reinhardt.

To date, the project has received support from Information and Communication Services (ICS) and the College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science. With two pilot phases completed and considerable demand from staff, Reinhardt and Girraj would like to roll out the project on all campuses for all CMS staff at the lower peromnes levels, which involves about 900 people. This would require significant resources such as time, LANs/ computers, printed notes, facilitators and volunteers. Next year, Reinhardt and Girraj will meet with a variety of representatives to get the necessary support for a project of this size.

The project embodies the spirit of the University’s tagline of Inspiring Greatness as well as its REACHT values: Respect, Excellence, Accountability, Client-Orientation, Honesty and Trust.

Words: Ndabaonline

Photograph: Sally Frost