Network to bolster artificial intelligence

A Lentegeur primary school will be an e-learning hub for its neighbouring schools, its residents – young and old to become engaged with technology.

Pictured in at the back, in the middle is former West End Primary school pupil and now founder of Nurture Network Colleen Cozett, who is setting up the Lentegeur school as an e-learning hub. Pictured with her are West End pupils and network volunteers.

West End Primary School and Nurture Network, a non-government organisation, launched its programme to help pupils engage with technology – academically and as a launch pad for their careers – on Friday June 11.

Together they will host online and face-to-face events to expose the community’s teachers and students to the latest technology and skills of the future.

Principal Clive Arries highlighted the school’s journey from using up to 224 reams of paper a month amounting to R35 840 for newsletters to parents to moving to digital forms, classwork, questionnaires and being paperless within the past eight years.

He said the Covid-19 pandemic had jolted their plans but it had lowered costs to the school and forged partnerships with sponsors, who will see them develop pupils, he called digital natives, in the fourth industrial revolution.

West End Primary School pupils, partners, donors and members of Nurture Network.

“We have to develop pupils and prepare them for careers and professions, which do not exist yet,” he said.

He explained that people were co-existing with artificial intelligence, robots and digital programmes, and that a balance had to be struck with human resources, especially emotional intelligence and wisdom.

Granville Stander, Metro South Education District director, said that the primary school piloting the national coding and robotics programme was key to developing jobs for the future.

“The biggest enemy in our community is poverty – unemployment.

“We have this challenge to create, rethink and deal with education differently,” he said.

Mr Stander also called on the community to help the school look after its resources by preventing vandalism and theft.

“These criminals are not just robbing the school but robbing our pupils of their future,” he said.

“We need to support entrepreneurship and broaden our thinking and definition of artificial intelligence and technology to help us to upskill and reskill our teachers, our pupils, our parents and our communities,” he said.

Founder of Nurture Network Colleen Cozett, an alumnus of West End Primary School, said they wanted to expose youth throughout South Africa by building capacity through e-learning solutions.

“Nurture Network aims to create a platform for schools, youth and communities to engage with technology, the fourth industrial revolution, academic and career support.

“Advisers will provide first-hand guidance on future careers,” she said.