Telematic Services helps build capacity at municipalities
“The broadcasts have given me a better insight of water and waste water treatment.”
“I am very positive about this. The beauty of it is that managers are now able to work toward a qualification that will enhance their skills.”
“This method of learning is the answer for the future.”
These are just some of positive responses of municipal workers who completed a recent pilot training programme in Water and Wastewater Treatment Supervisory Management Skills – focusing on operational asset management in collaboration with the Division of Telematic Services at Stellenbosch University (SU).
The Vulindlela Academy of the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) in collaboration with the provincial Department of Local Government, Department of Water Affairs and the South African Local Government Association (SALGA) used the integrated technology platform provided by the Division of Telematic Services as a virtual learning space.
According to Prof Tom Park, Senior Director: Division of Telematic Services, the main objective of the course was to improve operation, management, monitoring and asset management of treatment plants. It also aimed at improving service delivery in drinking water supply and sanitation services, he added.
The course consisted of 58 hours of real-time broadcasts from the Stellenbosch studio to 10 learning centres in the Western Cape that included 4 Stellenbosch learning centres (Stellenbosch, George, Worcester and Bellville) as well as 6 learning centres established by the DBSA at participating Western Cape municipalities (Caledon, Hermanus, Bredasdorp, Ladismith, Vredendal and Moorreesburg).
“The increased virtual mobility of the trainees resulted in significant cost saving for funding partners in terms of travelling and accommodation costs for the participating municipalities.”
Park said the fact that more than 97% of the respondents attended 80% or more of the sessions is a strong indication that the mode of training is acceptable in this specific context.
According to Dr Antoinette van der Merwe, Director: Division of Telematic Services, the results of the formal impact study done on completion of the programme show most municipal workers attended the broadcasts because they believed that these types of educational initiatives could enhance their career prospects and help their understanding of their task and job responsibilities.
The participants also reported that the number and duration of the broadcast days used for the pilot project successfully addressed the needs of the trainees. This feedback obtained from the participants regarding the time allocated for the programme as well as the frequency of the broadcasts can serve as important guidelines for design of similar projects in the future.
Park added that according to the feedback from the participants, project partners and stakeholders the goals of the pilot training programme were successfully achieved.
- Visit the website of the Division for Telematic Services here.