Ahead of International Literacy Day on 8 September, stories about South Africa’s poor literacy rates take the spotlight. And the statistics are sadly alarming – eight out of ten grade 4 learners can’t read for meaning, while the adult literacy rate is 87%. Digital literacy is equally challenging, especially given that only 10% of homes have internet access.
Many organisations however provide an immense amount of time and resources to improve the overall literacy rate and to ensure a brighter future for a well-read generation of South African children.
One encouraging success story is Education without Borders (EwB). An organisation that provides after-school education and mentorship to youth from disadvantaged communities in South Africa. It includes supplementary mathematics, English, science, and leadership programs. These initiatives expand students’ future career and job opportunities, helping to strengthen their families and communities and break the cycle of poverty.
Award-winning internet security provider ESET is proud to offer significant support to EwB’s outstanding efforts. ESET has contributed more than R230,000 this year alone and is a platinum partner, meaning it gives a minimum of $10 000 per year towards EwB’s initiatives. Their funding primarily goes towards the EwB’s School in a Box programme. School in a Box is a closed internet system covering all appropriate SA curriculum subjects including English, mathematics, and science. Each box contains 15-20 connected tablets. The students are thoroughly engaged by the opportunity of a more digital and personalised learning experience. Onboarding ESET Southern Africa as a sponsor has allowed more learners to individualise their learning trajectories and learn how to work and navigate through technology.
“We believe in supporting organisations that are strategically aligned to our own goals. These include supporting education through technology, bridging the education divide in South Africa, and protecting the progress of future generations,” says Carey van Vlaanderen, CEO of ESET South Africa.
“EwB has been making lasting changes in the lives of South African learners since 1972. With ESET SA’s help, they implemented School in a Box, affording learners from lower-income households access to the technology they need to participate in everything a modern education has to offer. This will bring new opportunities to South Africa’s youth, ensuring a bright future.”
EwB also recently announced two ground-breaking new programmes. The first is a new partnership with PeerLab Tutoring, enabling South African tertiary students to receive virtual one-on-one support and education assistance from tutors in the United States. The second is a mentoring programme that connects South African students with mentors from North America to develop bonds, exchange ideas, and navigate the challenges students might face when they leave school.
“Such programmes and collaborations serve as a reminder to ESET of why we wanted to support EwB, and why the work they do is so important. Not only do they provide education and technology to those who would have struggled to access such opportunities, but they understand the importance of supporting students to reach their full potential. They’re shaping lives and creating a future of progress – empowering the youth of today and generations of the future,” says van Vlaanderen.
At ESET, the focus is on the future – and this includes future generations. The company also started a free online resource, Safer Kids Online, as a means to digitally empower youths while keeping them safe. The site teaches kids and parents about the dangers that lurk online and how to stay safe. It not only focuses on technological education, from the ABCs of malware to the importance of strong passwords, but also educates kids about dangerous online agents such as predators and bullies – and how to stay safe from them.
“The importance and advantages of being digitally savvy cannot be underestimated today – and that includes everything from basic literacy to a deeper understanding of staying safe in the online landscape. At ESET, we want to empower youths to take advantage of everything the online world has to offer, and with allies like EwB, I believe we are making a lasting difference,” says van Vlaanderen.
For more than 30 years, ESET has been developing industry-leading IT security software and services to protect businesses, critical infrastructure and consumers worldwide from increasingly sophisticated digital threats. From endpoint and mobile security to endpoint detection and response, encryption and multifactor authentication, ESET’s high-performing, easy-to-use solutions unobtrusively protect and monitor 24/7, updating defences in real-time to keep users safe and businesses running without interruption. Evolving threats require an evolving IT security company that enables the safe use of technology. This is backed by ESET’s R&D centres worldwide, working in support of our shared future. For more information, visit www.eset.com/za or follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram.