Greatness was inspired among 40 Campus Management Services (CMS) staff members who completed a CompLit4U basic computer literacy course on UKZN’s Howard College campus. This is a story of community at the University.
The CompLit4U course was created by co-ordinator of STEC@UKZN Dr Tanja Reinhardt and public relations officer in the College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science Mr Sashlin Girraj with the goal being to equip often overlooked staff members with basic computer skills.
The project was trialled in 2019 on the Westville campus with 10 staff members trained during the first phase and 12 in the second phase. The project was then put on hold because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dr Lliane Loots of the School of Arts read about the 2019 trials and thought the course would be beneficial for cleaners working in her building. Loots organised with Reinhardt for the course to be run at the Howard College campus, later establishing that about 40 staff members were keen to do the course.
Because of the numbers of aspirants, Girraj and Reinhardt realised they could not run the course on their own and asked for help from the University community.
Supporters soon came on board to make things happen. LAN Manager Mr Sibusiso Shezi, offered his facility as the training venue, while Cleaning and Cartage Manager, Ms Lorna Strydom, arranged for CMS staff to attend the training during work hours so that they would not miss their transport home.
‘It is important for each employee to be developed to achieve their potential,’ said the acting Director: Human Resource Development (HRD), Mr Michael Cloete, who covered the costs of notes, USBs and meals for participants.
Ms Mpume Khumalo of the Information and Community Services Division (ICS) organised for interns Mr Prince Dlamini and Mr Malusi Mbongela to work as demonstrators for the course, while additional volunteer demonstrators included Mr Qiniso Nzuza, Mr Thembelani Khumalo, Mr Samkelo Njiva, Ms Wendy Mngadi and Ms Bonginhlanhla Ndlovu.
Held for two hours a day, the week-long course covered topics such as hardware vs software, how to use MS Word and save a document, how to use a web browser and perform a Google search, and how to read and send emails. Staff also completed a series of practical exercises and were awarded certificates of attendance at the end of the week.
The course was designed to be a launch pad for staff on their journey towards becoming computer literate.
Special thanks go to all supporters and volunteers. The power of community prevailed at the University because those involved in making the course happen wanted to be part of the advancement of their own members. With the support of HRD, ICS and CMS more courses are planned for next year.
Words: Sashlin Girraj
Photographs: Sally Frost, Sashlin Girraj and Qiniso Nzuza