Cape Town - Eighty-percent of the country’s public schools have access to internet connectivity, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga said.
“The majority of these schools are connected using 3G or LTE (connect to the internet wirelessly), that is not ideal for teaching and learning. As part of Phase 1 of SA Connect, a total of 594 have access to broadband connectivity,” Motshekga said.
She was responding to DA MP Baxolile Nodada, who enquired about the number of schools that currently have and do not have access to internet, wi-fi connectivity and computer laboratories.
Nodada also wanted to know about the plans and programmes the Department of Basic Education was implementing to ensure all schools have access to the internet and computer laboratories, as well as the targets for the completion of the specified plans.
He also asked about the professional development programmes that aimed to improve computer literacy for teachers.
Motshekga said each province has its own ICT strategy on how the schools were provided with ICT resources for teaching and learning.
“It should be noted that provinces such as Limpopo, the Eastern Cape, Free State, Gauteng, Mpumalanga, North West and the Northern Cape have provided learners with ICT devices.
“It is based on this notion that provinces are gradually moving away from the fixed computer laboratories to mobile ICT solutions.
“Furthermore, provinces such as Gauteng, the Western Cape, KwaZulu Natal and Mpumalanga are providing schools with classroom technologies such as Smartboards and projectors,” Motshekga said.
The minister said about 20% of schools have no access to internet connectivity.
She said provinces have developed their implementation plans, however, their allocated budget was not sufficient to make sure that all public schools are provided with ICT resources.
She stated that SA Connect Phase 2 was approved by Cabinet in January 2022 for implementation.
“As part of this phase the government will provide 18 036 public schools with internet connectivity. It should be noted that these schools will be provided with limited data bundles.”
The basic education sector has already submitted the names of the schools to the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies.
“The provincial implementation plans are linked to their voted budget that is allocated to provide schools with ICT resources as part of teaching and learning,” Motshekga added.
She said professional development programmes that aimed to improve computer literacy for teachers were currently in operation.
Teachers are trained on how to create and publish courses online using Moodle Learning Management System.
“The training is aimed at providing educators with instructional design skills, pedagogical and technological skills that are the building blocks in order to infuse ICT in the classroom.
“It should be noted that the computer literacy skills are embedded in the Moodle LMS training,” she said.
“Furthermore, the basic education sector is also training teachers with just-in-time professional development interventions on how to use the Open Educational resources that are loaded on their ICT devices and various online platforms,” Motshekga added.