Johannesburg - Across Gauteng, school computer labs stand idle because they can’t log on to a system that has failed in more than five years to sort out its problems.
This was revealed in a finance portfolio committee report on the Gauteng Online Schools Project after a recent oversight visit.
The visit to 13 schools by the committee’s researchers found that five of the schools visited saw the computer project “as dysfunctional because, since the installation of computers, the server is constantly down and learners are unable to log in”.
One server supports at least 10 schools, so if it’s down, all those institutions go offline.
The committee said although 13 schools were a small sample of the 1 574 schools that have Gauteng online (GoL) labs, the sample size was in line with programme evaluation and budget analysis requirements.
“A bigger sample size would have required more resources and capacity, which would have ultimately had budget implications,” the committee’s report said.
theft, inadequate teacher training and overcrowding were some of the project’s hindrances.
The GoL labs have 25 workstations, so pupils often have to share computers during lessons.
“With regard to overcrowding, 53 percent of learners are forced to share workstations. Overcrowding is one of the issues that causes slow progress, interruptions and perhaps an unhealthy laboratory,” the committee said.
The report found that 23 percent of teachers were not trained to use the computers.
The committee said many of the challenges facing the project were because neither the Gauteng Department of Finance nor the Department of Education owned the GoL equipment.
The project’s infrastructure – including the computers, the software and the connectivity – is owned by the service provider, SMMT Online (now Cloudseed).
The GoL project has since been revised to the e-Learning Solution programme. There are now two service providers, Huawei Technologies, which will provide 88 000 tablets, and Cloudseed, which will provide uncapped internet connectivity.
DA Gauteng education spokesman Khume Ramulifho, a member of the committee, said there would need to be clarity on where the buck stops on the implementation of the project. - The Star