The University of Pretoria's commitment to community upliftment is evident in the compulsory JCP module for students in the Faculty of Engineering, Built Environment and Information Technology (EBIT).
Students are encouraged to use the skills from this course in their future careers to assist people and organisations. Some of the work done by the 2017 students includes*: teaching community members computer skills, building a jungle gym for orphaned, underprivileged children at a children's home, revamping the victim room at a police station, refurbishing and repairing rooms at a dog shelter, and teaching nursery school children about STEM and technology.
Tekkie Tots is a special Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) programme designed by the CSIR. One JCP group, consisting of BCom (Informatics) students Emily Black, Dané Coetzee and Mickey Lambrecht, took their skills to Sunnyside Pre-Primary School. Over a few weeks, the students used extremely creative means to explain complex ideas and taught the children about shapes and structures, healthy bodies, colours and counting, and mixing ingredients.
Middelburg Care Village, which provides a home for vulnerable and orphaned children, received a brand new jungle gym. Ockert de Bruyn, Mandi Venter and Chanel Dippenaar used recycled material to build a new, structurally sound jungle gym.
Brooklyn SAPS also received assistance from JCP students. Rishav Maharaj, Carey Naidoo, Shannon Neman, Thomas Ramaila and Preshen Ramsundar revamped the local police station's victim room to make it a warmer, more inviting and comforting environment for people who have suffered traumatic experiences.
Some of the students, including Carl Brink, Marissa de Villiers, Thato Molapo, Calvin Rodda, Tobias Bester, Brandon Naidoo, Ruslynn Appana and Trishen Moodley, formed groups that used the University's Mamelodi campus as a central location to empower residents of Mamelodi with basic computer literacy skills. They said, 'JCP was a great learning experience for us. The key skills we learned from doing the project were time management, teaching, teamwork, working with people, problem-solving, critical thinking and communication. The community project gave us an opportunity to apply our academic knowledge and teach it to other people. We believe that doing community work is of utmost importance to young people as it increases a sense of responsibility and Ubuntu.'
To find out more about the impact that the JCP module has on students and how their social consciousness is increasing, watch the official video on YouTube.
*As part of the JCP module, students are required to create a video or a visual diary of what they did in the community and its impact on the community and themselves. The videos are available on YouTube and may be accessed by clicking on the hyperlinks above.