The technology revolution has taken over in many sectors providing the much needed efficiencies at an exponential rate. The socio-economic development sector has also benefited from innovation and technology advancement. Management proposes that the Adopts programme be repackaged to focus on innovative projects that will demonstrate the impact of technology in providing the much needed interventions in the socio-economic development space. The new strategy of the Foundation focusses on three phases, with phase one on high school support for maths, science, technology and English. This phase is premised on challenges including the declining state of education especially in maths and science – South Africa is ranked at 75 out of 76 countries for maths and science – one in four schools does not offer maths between grades 10 to 12 due to teacher shortages. Also, the recorded attrition rate at matric is at 51% with around 50% of those remaining taking maths and science in matric. The Department of Trade and Industry has gazetted the Amended Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) ICT Sector Code. The SED element of the Codes remain at 1.5% of NPAT with 12 points but strongly asserts that initiatives must be ICT sector specific, contribute towards socio-economic development and promote access to the economy for black people. This presents an opportunity for the Adopts programme to make a meaningful contribution to educational challenges through the use of technology with clear socio-economic development outcomes.
The revised model is aimed at changing the patronage of the programme from being solely focused on Telkom senior executives to a more broad-based approach focusing on teams and groups of people. Phase one of the broad-based approach would focus on divisions and teams within Telkom with phase two focusing on broader society, including Telkom customers. The aim is to encourage people to innovatively think of how through ICT, a project could innovatively work with communities to address educational challenges. This would present an opportunity for coming up with and incubating innovative solutions that will not only address challenges in under-served communities but also provide insights to Telkom’s business. It is envisaged that this approach will generate innovative ICT based socio-economic development project concepts that will be evaluated by the Foundation and most impactful and feasible projects provided with funding. Telkom employees would be encouraged to also provide funding support through the payroll giving programme called Giving from the Heart which provides tax benefits and rand-for-rand matching by the Foundation.
As and when the adoptions of projects happen through-out the year, we will publish it here.