All pupils score after school turns rugby pitch into data ...

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All pupils score after school turns rugby pitch into data drive-through

Krugersdorp High comes up with a novel way to get lessons to pupils who can’t afford high data costs

Journalist
Krugersdorp High School has set up a drive-through data centre on the rugby field where pupils can download and upload schoolwork.
A load off Krugersdorp High School has set up a drive-through data centre on the rugby field where pupils can download and upload schoolwork.
Image: Supplied

With most schools taking their lessons online, Krugersdorp High School, west of Johannesburg, came up with a way to make lessons accessible for every pupil.

The school’s marketing director, Lauren Jooste-Coetsee, told Times Select they were concerned about families who could not afford the high cost of data.

“We didn’t want to leave any pupil behind [with lessons] because they simply could not afford to access the lessons,” she said.

According to Jooste-Coetsee, the school management team brainstormed how they could continue to offer lessons, but in a way that would make access equal for everyone.

“The school was already embracing e-learning before the lockdown. So we had a fully equipped wifi network on the school premises,” she told Times Select.

I was very happy when I heard about this initiative because now I know my son will be on par with his peers on what is being taught.
Tebogo Chiloane

Last week, the school opened its rugby field to function as a data drive-through centre where pupils could and download or upload their schoolwork.

To avoid congestion the days on which pupils can come have been split up.

“We allow each pupil a maximum of 20 minutes on the field, so that we avoid overcrowding and ensure that we also adhere to the lockdown regulations,” she said.

Parent Tebogo Chiloane, who has a child in Grade 12 at the school, was very grateful for the service.

“We are a single-income household and data would not be affordable for us because it is expensive. I was very happy when I heard about this initiative because now I know my son will be on par with his peers on what is being taught,” she said.

Jooste-Coetsee said their school is a former model C school, and its pupils come from homes with varying incomes.

“Some of our pupils are privileged to have all the infrastructure needed for them to learn from home. Unfortunately, we also have those who are from homes without that, and we thought of those when we came up with the drive-through data centre,” she told Times Select.

Almost a week into the new system, everything was still going smoothly, said Jooste-Coetsee.

Another parent, Sammy Botha, said the initiative eased the burden on her since their household income had dropped during lockdown.

“We stay close to the school and we just drive here whenever she needs to access her schoolwork. Downloading is expensive and this has cut our costs drastically. When she has questions, she contacts her teachers on WhatsApp,” she added.