One of the most important areas of focus for any country, be it developing or otherwise, is the support of the education system, and assisting the youth in achieving their personal and career goals. The first step in overcoming many of the challenges that we face as a country – poverty, disease and crime – is with high-quality, relevant education, from grassroots level right through to tertiary level. As an IT company that firmly believes in the value of a good education, Cornastone has been working closely with the Department of Education to identify South African schools that will benefit from financial support and mentorship in the field of technology since 2003. In line with its business values, Cornastone strongly believes that investing in education is a long-term commitment, and that education is the key for empowering its customers, employees and partners.
In 2003, Cornastone found Good Hope Seminary Junior School in Vredehoek, Cape Town, which was in need of the resources to be able to offer a technology and IT syllabus to its students. With Cornastone’s help, and in conjunction with another IT company in Cape Town, Good Hope Seminary Junior School was able to install a computer lab – called Cornastone Brainwaves – equipped with 20 state-of-the-art computers. But what is a computer lab without a teacher? With Cornastone’s help, Good Hope Seminary Junior School employed a permanent educator in 2004, who began leading the school’s young minds down the path of technology enlightenment. Cornastone’s financial and technical services continued to assist the school to maintain and upgrade Cornastone Brainwaves and between 2007 and 2009, the school had upgraded the lab with 30 new computers, a controlled Internet connection, murals, blinds, furniture, and a server to network the school’s 65 computers spread across the computer lab and three offices. In 2010, Cornastone’s funding has enabled the Good Hope Seminary Junior School to install a CCTV surveillance system that keeps every single classroom, three corridors and three IT labs safe and secure.
Having affirmed its commitment to education as a corporate social investment (CSI) initiative, Cornastone in 2007 again approached the Department of Education to offer additional financial help to another South African school. Nestled in Ivory Park, Eqinisweni Secondary School caters to 2,187 eager learners. While the school itself is financially stable, much of its funds are dedicated to running costs instead of the much needed upgrades to its facilities. Since Cornastone started to subsidise the school’s monthly running costs, it has been able to cover a number of its ongoing maintenance costs and use additional funds to upgrade its computer lab, install a network, build a perimeter wall to secure the school and its learners and provide additional study materials.
On further enquiry in 2013 to the Department of Education, Cornastone was directed to Thambatshira Secondary School situated in Makubane, Limpopo. The school needed assistance in a different way. Their Mathematics and Science results were not where they wanted them to be. This is an essential part of one’s schooling career. Cornastone decided to fund teacher training programmes to skill teachers in how to teach Mathematics and Science in a more effective way, to ensure that matric results are improved. The district put together support plans to empower the school’s management team and the governing body to develop and implement improvement activities.
In 2015 Cornastone was approached by the department to assist a school in Musina, Limpopo. The Doreen Bridge Combined School is situated on the farm, Doreen Estate about 40km East of Musina. It serves the communities of Doreen and the surrounding farms. The school is run by the community and receives little funding from the government. There are a number of challenges that the school is currently facing, from establishing a library and computer centre to attaining soccer balls and cricket bats to provide the children some exposure to different sporting areas. Cornastone has committed to assist the school and are excited to build a new relationship.