SkillsTrain creates virtual classroom in South Africa

Released on: February 26, 2008, 9:43 am

Press Release Author: Mary Stuart-Miller / SkillsTrain

Industry: Education

Press Release Summary: British IT distance learning college, SkillsTrain, has backed
an initiative to bring IT skills into South African classrooms to benefit kids who
will have had little or no contact with computers.
The Project Africa scheme enables British tutors to train kids via a Live Internet
Link from SkillsTrain's Luton based head office, directly into South African

Press Release Body: British based SkillsTrain, Europe's largest provider of IT
training, has helped over thirty South African school children take part in live
internet training link-up to give them their first ever opportunity to experience IT
technologies that British school children take for granted.

SkillsTrain, of Collingdon Street, offered underprivileged school children in up to
a dozen schools in South Africa the chance to have virtual access, via a live
internet link, to tools such as Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint to present
their classroom projects, part of SkillsTrain's charitable IT training scheme,
`Project Africa'.

The first live internet link-up from Luton to Mount Currie in the KwaZulu-Natal
Province of South Africa enabled two classes of 13 - 15 year olds in St. Patrick's
College in Kokstad to be taught IT techniques totally remotely, from an office in
Collingdon Street, Luton.

SkillsTrain principal, Myra Smallman, who hosted the live link said

"When I visited South African with my son's rugby team I was shocked at how little
there is for children to do and how few opportunities they have to even go near a
computer. Using a white board and live internet link, we are able to project our
software into their classroom so that they could be taught how they could present a
recent project using Excel, PowerPoint and Word, programmes that are very familiar
to most British children".

Over thirty children aged 13 - 16 benefited from the morning's remote IT training,
taking their diary project `A Week in the Life Of' and presenting it using Microsoft
Word, Excel and PowerPoint.

During session the South African students were set a new project, based around the
Rugby Tri Nations, in which they will be taught how to use internet research and
presentation methods to discover the history of the event and information about the
teams taking part.

Myra Smallman continued "The children were very excited. They were a little shy at
first, but it was amazing how quickly they took to the microphones to communicate
with me back in the UK. They also loved using the Whiteboard, a common site in a UK
classroom but quite rare in South African schools.

I'm very hopeful that the inspiration we're giving these school children will filter
down to other schools to encourage them to raise funds to invest in computer
equipment. If we can get more of these children trained in IT technologies, we're
giving them a huge advantage in their lives, to go out and use IT in their future
careers. It's a vital lifeline for many of them".

SkillsTrain will continue the Project Africa live internet training in 2008 when
schools return in January after their summer recess. The company will be pleased to
hear from other schools in South Africa who have the basic computing equipment to
host the live link up and to benefit from the virtual IT training.

SkillsTrain are also looking for schools in the Bedfordshire area to come forward
and take part in two-way training sessions, enabling British school children to
communicate with South African pupils during live link-ups. Any school wishing to
participate should go to and complete the `Comment' form.


Web Site:

Contact Details: Further information from Mary Stuart-Miller, 01403 738844.

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