Piloting Maker spaces in South Africa

Goal: To Spearhead LEAP’s strategy for developing their youth’s head, heart, and hands by further integrating technology and maker spaces into the curriculum

Background: In South Africa, the education system is estimated to produce just one university graduate for every 100 children who start Grade 1. Youth unemployment rate is close to 50% and 8.3 million South Africans (15% of the total population) live on USD 1.90 a day.

Partner: LEAP Science and Maths Schools has six schools from Grades 8 – 12, and provides high quality, low-fee education to underserved youth living in the townships of South Africa. All LEAP learners study Maths, Science, and English, have extended school days, and build self-confidence through a class called Life Orientation. This approach has resulted in an average 94% of LEAP students passing their Grade 12 final examinations (compared to a 76% national average), and 81% of LEAP graduates qualifying for higher education (compared to a national average of less than 12% for students from townships and rural areas).

Project: In 2018, Team4Tech and volunteers from Pure Storage collaborated with LEAP 3 School, located in Alexandra Township, near Johannesburg. The Pure Storage team successfully further integrated technology into their LEAP classes by:
Training teachers on subject-specific software
Spearheading LEAP’s strategy for developing their youth’s head, heart, and hands, the Pure Storage team trained students and IT teachers on Lego robotics, VR camera, and basic python.
With servers donated from Pure Storage and Colorado College, LEAP was able to upgrade servers from 30GB to 256 GB RAM servers, making LEAP’s IT infrastructure more durable and robust.

Testimonies and Results: “The servers Pure Storage brought over helped LEAP set up our first data center!” – Jeremiah Mubaiwa, LEAP’s National IT Director

“Hard to describe, the trip was certainly life-changing. I learned some very important lessons, mostly about rolling with the punches, adjusting plans in the face of complete change and uncertainty, and being realistic about goals that can be accomplished vs obsessing over pre-defined goals. Keeping an eye on doing the most good possible vs wasting time on something that would yield little to no benefit.” – Esteban Rubens, Global Enterprise Imaging Principal, Pure Storage

“This program did so much to help me grow. I have walked away from this experience feeling empowered and excited to take on more of a leadership role in my team back at work. I think a big part of it was just being around and working with such a high performing team. It inspires me to do more. Also having these incredible teammates point out strengths that I brought to the team really gives me a stronger confidence to take on more and be more willing to put myself out there and lead with confidence, even if I am still unsure. I also think the weight of what we were doing and the desire to make an impact inspired me to dig a little deeper and make sure I was performing at the top of my game. In addition, all of the skills mentioned in the previous question (global mindset, critical thinking, collaboration, creative problem solving and communication) were constantly activated for the duration of the program, inevitably resulting in an improvement in all of those areas.” – Ashley Guio, Pure Learning Coordinator, Pure Storage