MUT divisions contribute to creating a “state-of-the-art” library in neighbouring school

Two of the University’s divisions have collaborated with a local school to contribute in improving the reading ability of its learners. The University’s Library Services and its Community Engagement and Development (CEAD) have responded to a request from Umlazi Comtech to provide some needed assistance with the school’s library. On 28 August 2023, the two divisions were part of the partners that opened the school’s library. Senior Director of the University’s Library Services, Dr Nthabiseng Mosala-Bryant, commended the schools for its ‘forward thinking’. Dr Mosala-Bryant said the school was responding to a dire reading situation at primary education level. Dr Mosala-Bryant said this gruesome state of reading at the country’s primary education level was the outcome of a research that was conducted by the University of Pretoria, and was commissioned by Angie Motshega, the Minister of Basic Education. The study, which was done in May 2023, revealed that 81% of South African children could not read for comprehension in any of the country’s 11 official languages. As you can see, this is not about English literacy, it says in any of the 11 official SA languages, our children’s reading competence is dangerously low,” said Dr Mosala-Bryant. Dr Mosala-Bryant said that the researchers recommended that the department improves literacy levels in the country. “Which is what I think Comtech is doing here,” she added.

The MUT Library made a telling contribution to the Comtech Library. Dr Mosala-Brayant said the MUT Library System’s administrators donated the Koha Integrated Library system worth over R300,000.00. And said Dr Mosala-Bryant: “Without the donation of the server, trolleys and paint from MUT CEAD, and the consistent support from Professor Nkonki-Mandleni and Dr Bonginkosi Zondi, CEAD Researcher, and the donation from Toyota to the value of +/-R100k, it would have been very difficult to proceed and complete this initiative,” said Dr Mosala-Bryant.

CEAD Director, Professor Busisiwe Nkonki-Mandleni said their involvement in the project as part of the University’s Anchor Strategy that requires the Institution to “grow with its communities”. Professor Nkonki-Mandleni said this the school approached her directorate about the library. “The CEAD Directorate carried out minor repairs of the library, purchased book trolleys and a laptop that would be used to upload the software that was donated by Universal Knowledge System (UKS). The software is used to manage books in the library. All this was carried with the facilitation of Dr Zondi from CEAD,” said Professor Nkonki-Mandleni.

The Principal of the school, Nkosinathi Shandu, thanked MUT’s divisions and “all others” for contributing to the creation of a “state-of-the-art” library. “We view this donation as a lifetime resource for our learners and the entire school community. This day is a significant milestone on our school calendar,” said Shandu. Shandu added that as a school, they were proud to partner with “great” institutions like MUT.