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Unisa online - Diepsloot takes the chance to advance

Dr Genevieve James, Chance 2 Advance Project Director (left), Prof Narend Baijnath, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (centre) with the Chance 2 Advance student ambassadors

Dr Genevieve James, Chance 2 Advance Project Director (left), Prof Narend Baijnath, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (centre) with the Chance 2 Advance student ambassadors

The Diepsloot community in Johannesburg came out in numbers to take advantage of Unisa’s Chance 2 Advance programme which was held from 16 to 28 July 2012. Over 100 classes are taking place and the venues are packed to capacity.

Dr Genevieve James, Chance 2 Advance Project Director said that she is overwhelmed by the response and the commitment shown by the Diepsloot community. She said that a number of people took leave from their formal employment to join the programmes so that they can improve their skills. “Most people saw an opportunity to upgrade themselves in order to do their jobs even better.”

The programme was attended by local salon owners, receptionists, educators and other professionals. Dr James mentioned that the programmes are designed in such a way as to address the specific needs of the community.

Unisa Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Prof Narend Baijnath also came to offer his support and motivate the Diepsloot community. He told the End User Computing class that the world is changing and that technology is changing the way things are done. “Unisa itself is changing the way it teaches, the way it does its registration and the way it communicates with students”. He highlighted the advantages of knowing how to use a computer in this day in age.

Speaking to the many students attending the communication skills programme, he lamented the fact that South Africa has such a high youth unemployment rate and added that this Chance 2 Advance programme is meant for such people, especially in the marginalised communities.

Dr Genevieve James (left), Prof Narend Baijnath (centre) with the Chance 2 Advance student ambassadors

Dr Genevieve James (left), Prof Narend Baijnath (centre) with the Chance 2 Advance student ambassadors

Prof Baijnath went on to say that Unisa’s belief and investment in this programme has been vindicated by the high level turnout of community members. “The student turnout indicates that Unisa is giving them hope that they have gained skills to do things on their own and to get a job.” This number also indicates, however, that there is still much to be done in empowering the youth.

Ms Vuyo Seti and Mr James Hadji, both Unisa lecturers, were offering Effective Communication Skills to students. Vuyi Seti said that the programme included intercultural communication and because Diepsloot is a melting pot of culture, the people attending the course learnt a lot about tolerance and knowing each other. “A lot of people here do public speaking and presentations and we brought that in the programme as well.” She added that people responded well to the programme.

Mr Willem Ellis, Executive Officer: International Institute for Development and Ethics based at the University of the Free State in Bloemfontein said that that he was privileged to work with the youth of Diepsloot on Social Entrepreneurship. He told students to change the way they view their surroundings. “I hope I have stimulated a lot of interest in them to investigate entrepreneurial opportunities available in their surroundings,” said Ellis.

Students were excited to have this opportunity. Flora Moadi said that she bettered her receptionist and secretary skills. Morongua Chauke said that she learnt communication skills and phone etiquette.



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