St.Francis Adult Education Centre, Langa, Cape Town

Computer Project

The CPU Training modules currently on offer are as follows:

  • Introduction to Computers & Typing Skills
  • Computer Operating Systems (Incl. Win 98)
  • MS-Word
  • MS-Excel
  • MS-Access
  • MS-Power Point
  • Intro to Internet & E-mail

Brief Overview
The St. Francis Computer Centre was established by Old Mutual in 1989 and continues to introduce basic computer literacy, which includes a range of commercial programs to hundreds of learners every year. Initially full time educators are funded by Old Mutual to teach in and manage the Centre, which operated from two classrooms within the Night School and was available at night only. Offering 4-week modules in a few computer applications.

In 1998 St Francis employed a Computer Training Centre Manager of their own and took over all management and tutoring functions from Old Mutual, who continued to support the Centre financially for another 3 years. Thus at the end of 2000 Old Mutual stopped their financial support and the St Francis Computer Centre was faced with yet greater challenges in their quest for self-sustainability.
When Gerald Dunbar was appointed in 1998, it was evident that in order to become self-sustainable some changes had to take place. The training Centre that previously operated from two prefab classrooms was moved to more secure brick structures and lockable furniture was designed and manufactured to house the PCs. Later a third classroom was acquired and additional PCs incorporated to accommodate the increased demands for the various modules.

It was also realised that most learners who attend the Training Centre do not have access to PCs outside of this Centre and therefore courses were restructured and the duration of modules was increased from 4 to 6 weeks (thereby allowing more hands on exposure).

The above, however, placed more financial challenges on the Centre as there were effectively less modules offered during the same time frame and tuition fees, which had not changed for some years had to be increased which lead to customer resistance resulting in fewer learners. However, learners soon appreciated the increased value of training received and the initial resistance to higher fees gradually developed into more support for the Centre. Which also resulted in a need for more staff, both administrative and teaching.

Additional modules were also gradually added and a business and resource component was introduced to the services offered. Due to a lack of space this service was initially offered from the third classroom but was disruptive to the training program and presented rather restricted access to clients who were not learners as they had to follow the general security procedures for learners. At the beginning of 2004, however, additional premises on the same property (St Francis Cultural Centre) were obtained where all administrative duties such as payment, registration and other functions could take place.

At the Computer Centre

Computer Learners, in one of the three classrooms, practising their Typing skills.

Disabled Learner acquiring computer skills, to improve his chances of employment.
This Learner's CPU skills were better than his peers. So whenever he got bored he applied his artistic talent to the mouse.