Community Service to Create Capacity through Technology: South African Context

Prof. Farhad Aghdasi,
Dr. Sylvia Kaye
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In post-apartheid South Africa, profound challenges face the country. They include the need for the development of skills, the elimination of a very high unemployment rate and extreme levels of poverty, particularly amongst previously disadvantaged people. One solution towards correcting the problems is in the academic development of community service programmes that help youth acquire skills before they enter the job market, and to avert a possible cycle of discouragement and failure. Technology provides two avenues for improvement: first, introducing technology early in children's development so that they have better opportunities when competing against children from more advantaged backgrounds; second, introducing technological skills to children, as these skills are in the greatest demand particularly in the previously disadvantaged communities. A key factor in rebuilding communities in post-apartheid South Africa is in unifying the previously divided ethnic and racial groups. Knowledge is a key factor in creating equity and in providing the means of bridging the gaps and bringing about unity in diversity.

This paper presents examples of community service projects in academic environments to assist previously disadvantaged populations in South Africa to become better prepared for academic study and employment/entrepreneurship.

Keywords: Community Service, Knowledge, Skills Development, South Africa, University Outreach
Stream: Technology in Community
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.

Prof. Farhad Aghdasi

Professor and Director, School of Electrical and Computer Systems Engineering, Central University of Technology, Free State
South Africa

Farhad Aghdasi is a Chartered Engineer who gained a PhD from the University of Bristol, UK, and an MBA from the University of Portland, USA. From 1974 to 1977, he was a design engineer at Tektronix, Oregon, USA. Since 1977, he has been a member of academic staff at a number of universities in Southern Africa and is currently Professor and Director of the School of Electrical and Computer Systems Engineering: Central University of Technology, Free State. Prof. Aghdasi is the author of a technical book and over 40 scientific papers in refereed journals and proceedings of international conferences.

Dr. Sylvia Kaye

Lecturer, Community Development and Adult Learning, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban
South Africa

Ref: T05P0139