Cape Town - 130708 - Premier Helen Zille and Minister of Education Donald Grant visited Spine Road HS in Mitchells Plain where teachers receive training related to the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement. Pictured: Premier Helen Zille and Minister of Education Donald Grant. REPORTER: ILSE FREDERICKS. PICTURE: WILLEM LAW.

Cape Town - Western Cape pupils could all have access to tablet devices at their schools in about five years.

Speaking at Spine Road Secondary in Mitchells Plain on Monday, Premier Helen Zille said every school in the province already had a computer laboratory, but the hope was “to take this much further in the next five years”.

Zille said they were looking at getting tablets into pupil’s hands.

“In the next couple of years we will get pilots going with tablets,” she said.

She said children would then be able to download their subject content and work out where they were supposed to be with in curriculum at a particular point in the year. The province has about 973 000 pupils.

“Technology has become a very important component in education. It’s hardly possible to think of a child getting a decent school education today without technology,” Zille said.

Zille and Education MEC Donald Grant visited Spine Road Secondary to monitor a curriculum and assessment policy statement (Caps) training session.

Grant said R452 million had been spent on textbooks over the past three years. The replacement cost of tablets compared with the replacement costs of the books would have to be considered.

Grant said the rollout of broadband in the province would allow for the new curriculum to be digitised.

“So I think teaching is going to become much more fun. Teachers will be able to download online lesson plans through the system and then be able to tailor it to the needs of the individual learners in their classes.”

He said 1 100 schools had been earmarked for broadband rollout by the end of 2014.

“Three hundred schools are already connected. The few in the rural remote areas are looking at pilots with solar panels and satellite dishes.“

Grant said Spine Road was one of 42 training venues across the province where 9 000 teachers would be receiving Caps training for Grades 7 to 9 and Grade 12 this week. - Cape Argus