University Of Pretoria Computer Science Department

The PumaScope Project

The current project PumaScope has its origins in the South African - Finnish Co-operation Programme in the Education Sector (SCOPE) project, executed by the South African Department of Education and the Finland Ministry for Foreign Affairs from 1999-2003. The aim of the SCOPE project was to assist historically disadvantaged and rural schools in the provinces of South Africa with no higher education institutions, i.e. Northern Cape and Mpumalanga.

PumaScope I participants with their certificates.

PumaScope I started in 2003 and provided a platform for rolling out very basic computer literacy and Computer Science knowledge transfer in rural areas of South Africa. Ten second-year computer science students from the University of Pretoria presented the PumaScope I course at five rural schools during two weeks of the June-July University holidays. Thousands of learners in historically disadvantaged schools benefited from PumaScope I. The objectives of PumaScope I are:

  • Evaluate the state of the network at the site and assist in building a sustainable system; monitor and evaluate the setting up and running of the computer lab at each school and come up with ideas and comments to the SCOPE ICT Component for the development and improvement of the labs and Web sites.
  • Build the capacity of the teachers to maintain and run the computer lab, its computers, network, hardware and software so that the teachers will be able to troubleshoot and fix minor problems and do the regular maintenance of the computer lab.
  • As a common task the whole team at each school should produce a set of documentation that will serve as a maintenance and support manual at the different schools.
  • Provide basic training in various Microsoft software packages including Word, Excel and PowerPoint.
  • Establish a computer club at the school, plan and support activities for the year (including technical and pedagogical items).

PumaScope course attendees. PumaScope course attendees.

Recently, the need for a more advanced course in the area of basic computer programming has been identified. This course complements IT teaching at South African schools and since 2008, tis being implemented as PumaScope II. PumaScope II objectives are as follows:

  • Identify potential candidates for participating in PumaScope II from learners that completed the PumaScope I course in the past, and from schools identified in the vicinity of the University of Pretoria.
  • Host the PumaScope II course at the University of Pretoria during the month of January each year.
  • Focus on basic pre-introductory programming using the C# lanuage.
  • Review and adapt C# courseware for entry-level learners, ensuring hands-on training.
  • Share the curriculum outline for the C# course with Microsoft.

For more information, contact Prof Hein Venter

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