The Joburg Centre for Software Engineering (JCSE) at Wits University will be running another ImpaCT Programme in June 2014. Aimed at grade nine and ten school learners, the Programme aims to encourage students to select a career in a software-related discipline such as computer science, electrical engineering, information systems or information technology. Launched in December 2012, the ImpaCT Programme has expanded from 14 to over 45 learners.
“We run a boot camp to stimulate the interest of learners, particularly those from previously disadvantaged communities, in information and communication technology, and equip them with the necessary information and tools to enter the ICT industry,” says Prof Barry Dwolatzky, Director of the JCSE.
He says that the December boot camp was a huge success with 45 students attending. The JCSE’s first holiday school followed in January 2014, where the students prepared for first term Maths and English. “We have also had a few weekend tutorials to help with Maths and English and are busy preparing for our May school visits and the winter boot camp. “We hope to get 25 new grade nine learners and also have plans to introduce community weekend classes for high school students, who are not on the programme,” explains Dwolatzky.
The Programme includes academic, social and psychological enrichment and helps learners to access bursaries to enter into tertiary education in ICT-related degrees. A key aim is also to promote positive role modeling. The learners are exposed to dynamic individuals in the industry who come from similar backgrounds, and passionate Wits University students who tutor them.
Coordinator of the ImpaCT Programme, Xoliswa Ngxanga, says the boot camps are held twice a year with the next one commencing in June 2014. Students spend two weeks during their holidays learning about software development and working on group projects. They are also invited to attend extra lessons on a Saturday in mathematics, science, English and information technology.
“The format works really well and the learners’ marks improve considerably as a result of the extra classes. We also see a marked increase in their confidence, particularly in physical science.”
Ngxanga says the June boot camp will cover all aspects of software development and will encourage students to improve their academic performance and prepare them for university life. “They will learn more abut Scratch, HTML, photo editing, Sketch-up and video editing. The course aims to also improve their skills in leadership, problem solving, presentation and study skills, as well as time management.”
For more information on the Impact Programme visit www.jcse.org.za.