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Fourth Industrial Revolution Stream Laboratory launched at Heatherlands High School

The 4IR represents a new era of innovation in technology, advancements in artificial intelligence and growing the global economy.

One of the concerns about the fast-changing, tech-driven world is that will the slow-moving education system be able to effectively equip children with the skills that they need to thrive as adults?

As South Africa’s Department of Basic Education is in the pilot phase of rolling out the country’s first coding and robotics curriculum, millions of children are not yet able to access vital aspects of education that they need today to be successful in the 4IR workforce of their future.

Agile, flexible programmes such as 4IR STREAM laboratories introduced in South Africa by STREAM (Science, Technology, Robotics, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) education specialist, Sakhikamva Foundation are playing a significant role in filling the gap. The latest 4IR STREAM laboratory has been opened up at Heatherlands High School in the Garden Route hub of George sponsored by project partner, Software AG.

Ndazi Nokoane, Transformer Director Software AG South Africa says, “As communities’ parents and school learners, we have to be aware of how rapidly, the world of work is changing. The top 10 jobs of today will be affected in just two years’ time. Al and robotics are continuously disrupting the world of work. We must prepare children by giving them the knowledge and skills where they can live up to their potential in the 4IR context. Therefore, we have to be focusing on developing skill-sets in the STREAM fields.”

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STREAM focuses on enabling children to develop competencies which are at the force of the 21st century, such as complex problem solving, co-ordinating with others, critical thinking, and creativity. With the opening of Heatherlands High 4IR STREAM laboratory, learners will enter an exciting world of drones,3D printing, robotics, and artificial intelligence.

“We are delighted that Sakhikamva Foundation and Software AG have brought this fantastic 21st century educational programme with its exceptional resources to the Heatherlands High School community. Leaners and their educators are going to be able to have a hands-on learning experience that we hope will ignite new appreciation and passion for Maths, Science and Technology in this under-served community,” says Director GET Curriculum of the Western Cape Education Department, Ms. Karen Dudley.

The Heatherlands High STREAM laboratory includes tablets and drones as well as AI, robotics and app-making kits so that learners get to discover and experiment with the technologies that are currently re-shaping the world.  

Heatherlands High Drone lab

The facility includes a 4iR classroom as well as a drone laboratory.  Drone technology has much potential in George and its surrounds where there’s extensive coastline and significant agricultural activity.

Principal of Heatherlands High, Salomo Moses, says, “We look forward to introducing our Grade 8 and 9 learners to this new program which will take them beyond the classroom to explore the fields of coding and robotics, and much more. The 4iR STREAM lab will also foster opportunities for teamwork and developing leadership, communication, creative and design skills.  With the opening of the lab, our school has taken a giant leap in providing a 4iR education where our learners can one day compete for the new types of jobs and be successful in the digital economy.”

The Sakhikamva Foundation has previously opened STREAM labs at Lanseria Airport in Gauteng, Cape Academy of Maths, Science and Technology, Get Ahead College in the Eastern Cape, Goodwood College and Silverlea Primary in Cape Town.

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Through STREAM laboratories and many other STEM enrichment programmes and activities, the organisation has engaged with more than 150 000 learners across the country. The roll-out of STREAM laboratories is an ongoing effort to bring learners into quality tech spaces to explore, discover, create and learn new skills essential in 21st Century life.

Founder of Sakhikamva Foundation, forensic scientist and pilot, Fatima Jakoet says, “We welcome Heatherlands High and its school community into our family. We will be supporting and training teachers in STREAM philosophy and teaching methodologies so that they can expertly guide their learners through amazing 21st Century learning experiences. The school’s 4iR STREAM laboratory is a new community space for real 4iR skills development in George, fully equipped with tech and connectivity, to empower learners to develop as the leaders, innovators, change agents and problem-solvers in their community.”

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