|There is a growing call for more skilled workers-especially in the scarce skills of science,
engineering and technology (SET). The current educational system is failing to address
these issues, learners are being ill-prepared to cope with the demands of a society that has
moved on; and learners are being prepared for a society that no longer exists in practice. In
order to address this problem, this thesis calls for a greater emphasis on issues of digital
inclusion, integration of whole communities, understanding of the dynamics of integrating
ICTs into the classroom, exploring opportunities for the expansion of rapid-prototyping at
school level and the promotion of digital literacy. Though this is not a definitive list, the
researcher has developed working solutions to each of these issues, as presented in five journal articles.
Investigations were conducted in the Tshwane area with male and female learners in both primary and secondary schools. The selection of the learners from both advantaged and disadvantaged institutions was left to the teachers. Design research was the main methodology adopted for this research. The investigations started in 200'1 and the bulk of the work was concluded between 2007-2010. Greater emphasis is placed on a qualitative approach with limited quantitative analysis.
The findings of this research indicate the need to extend the scope of the investigation and to massify the different interventions. The pedagogical shift has been away from information transfer, towards using information communication technologies to promote creativity and innovation in a stimulating constructivist environment This has led to an opportunity to track learner involvement in SET events over their school careers and to identify talented individuals. In addition, the findings indicate that there is little difference between learners from advantaged and disadvantaged communities. Added to this is the development of a solution to
address the digital divide through the creation of virtual interactive classrooms which can digitally include learners from geographically separated classrooms in remote communities.
The strategic importance of ICTs, creativity and innovation are key components of a Human
Capital Development strategy, especially at a time when there is a growing shortage of
scarce skills in key areas. Post Grade 12 interventions are short term solutions that are not sustainable. This thesis calls for the establishment of a SET pipeline from grassroots level, in order to grow the feeder stock for a national system of innovation as a long-term investment
in the future.