IBM donates technology to rural South Africa school

JOHANNESBURG (03/22/2004) - IBM Corp. on Tuesday handed over a fully-equipped computer lab to the Friersdale RC Primary School, near Upington in the Northern Cape Province. The donation comprises an IBM e-server X-series 225 and 18 IBM desktop PCs, complete with software and printer.

Founded in the 1930s by Catholic brothers, with two classrooms, Friersdale is a rural primary school situated about 70km from Upington. Today it boasts 17 classrooms with 420 learners.

IBM was impressed by the school's well-motivated and enthusiastic appeal for support. School principal, Mr. Francois de Klerk, says, "The school's nearest library is 20km away and the computer equipment will provide us with ready Internet access, as well as facilitating a much more efficient administration system."

Mark Harris, IBM's country general manager, said that he was delighted to be able to make this further tangible contribution to technology-based education on behalf of his company, and to welcome Public Service and Administration Minister, Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi, as guest of honor at the hand-over ceremony. He added that in recent years IBM had also made significant donations of computer labs, equipment and bursaries to schools and projects in the Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga and Northern Provinces. In the course of this work, valuable partnerships had been forged with local government authorities and other corporate donors.

Learners and teachers at Friersdale were equally excited about IBM's contribution to their community. Principal de Klerk said that, in addition to opening invaluable, modern communication doors to the school, it would motivate them in their ongoing quest to achieve excellence in education and skills development.

Minister Fraser-Moleketi also endorsed both the government and the community's appreciation of IBM's contribution and commitment.

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