BY PATIENCE RADISOENG
What would be the average age of learning computer basics in Primary and Secondary schools in Botswana? 13 & or maybe 17? Atleast 110 elderly members of the society this past Friday were out in the capital Gaborone reminding everyone that when it comes to education and graduation age is just a number. Their grandchild and children might have learnt first on how to control a computer mouse but the ‘Oldies’ couldn’t let go of an opportunity to learn this rather vital life skill.
The 110 were part of the 185 graduates who were paraded on Friday at the Gaborone Public to receive their certificates.
The Director at libraries of Botswana Opening University -Naniki Maphakwane said that the graduation was the fifth and has since been named Sesigo.
Maphakwane explained that the main objective of Sesigo project was to address the issue of digital divide to enable Batswana to access worldwide information through ICT.
She emphasised that the Information Communication Technology (ICT) sector and libraries are important in the country as they form one of the vision pillars on education and information.
In 2016 Botswana’s public libraries trained 160 people, a number that dropped down to 80 people in 2017 while this year the numbers went up again to 185. Out of these 185 graduates 75 people are youths while 110 are adults.
“This is an opportunity for adults to take part in ICT as they might never or never would have had the opportunity to learn the use of computers as public libraries still play a very critical role in providing digital inclusion to the community across the world and indeed here in Botswana,” she added.
Further Maphakwane said millions of people depend on public access of ICT in venues like public library for using the computer and various internet activities.
“Our role as the public library is to stand firm for the community to stand confidently and operate in the knowledge driven economy. Building the Africa we want and indeed the Botswana we want,” she noted.
Additional she said they want to be leaders in the technology driven processes, education, research and the delivery of programs and services.
And she said they can only attain that through trainings like BNLS and Sesigo.
One of the graduates, Gladys Mogatusi applauded the programme because it gave them opportunity to learn ICT.
She also noted that a lot of them only did not know about the likes of Microsoft word and powerpoint, but since they registered for Sesigo project they had learnt much more on ICT.
Another graduate, Olebogeng Mapogo encouraged the community to take advantage of the course and register to learn ICT as the course was free in public libraries.
Meanwhile Gaborone district coordinator, Banyanafela Basimane said that today people can communicate, study, bank and engage in social and economic activities through ICT and further urged the graduates not to sit back but further what they have gained from the Gaborone childrens library and continue to be an important educational resource which is currently required to construct not only their lives but the entire country.
Adding that nowadays everything that is done is ICT whether it is farming, selling, as the use of a computer is needed.
However when giving the statics of the project Batsima said when the project started in 2008, it had more than 600 graduates whereas this year they have dropped to 185 due to some factors such as lack of computers and some students have jobs that are not easy to be mixed with school.