A grade 12 pupil at Protea high school uses a tablet as Gauteng classrooms go digital. Soweto. Pic: Itumeleng English
A grade 12 pupil at Protea high school uses a tablet as Gauteng classrooms go digital. Soweto. Pic: Itumeleng English

Joy as tablets replace chalkboard

By Tebogo Monama Time of article published Jul 21, 2015

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Johannesburg - The pupils screamed and cheered, their faces lighting up with excitement as Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga transformed their learning centres into techno-savvy classrooms

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“No more will children get inferior education because they are poor. If you want to see a chalkboard, go to another province,” said Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi proudly at the Protea Glen Secondary School, where he was launching “paperless classrooms”.

While the new technological advances will put the schools on a par with private and former model-C schools, Lesufi said introducing the latest technology into classrooms was also one of the ways that the province was trying to ensure pupils were not reliant on social grants.

“Our parents came to this province looking for gold. That gold is gone. The future gold is these children. They are the ones who are going to be innovative. These learners will never queue for an RDP house or a social grant,” he said.

To launch the province’s future paperless classroom, piloting was launched at seven schools in Tembisa, Phomolong, Ivory Park and Duduza six months ago. The seven schools were provided with high-speed broadband connectivity and devices and equipment including laptops, tablets, interactive electronic screens, e-content, including a set of standardised lesson plans for all subjects for grades 7 to 11.

Teachers were trained to use the ICT systems, devices and content resources effectively.

Security including permanent on-site guarding, rapid response and electronic security systems were put in place.

For the second phase of the roll-out, the department is rolling out tablets and laptops to 375 township schools across the province. Lesufi said because of problems with contractors, 30 percent of the 375 schools would not be switched on Tuesday, but by the end of August.

For the second phase of the project, over 4 000 classrooms have been refurbished and 17 000 tablets for Grade 12 pupils and 1 800 3D LED interactive boards have been provided. Lesufi said the second phase cost R1.2 billion. The pilot project was launched at the start of the school year when seven schools were given laptops.

Instead of using textbooks, pupils have the curriculum material loaded on to the tablets.

But the schools still have hard copies of textbooks in case of load shedding as most of them do not have generators.

The project received a warm welcome on social media, with former DA leader and Western Cape Helen Zille tweeting this morning: “Well done!! Way to go, guys!”

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The Star

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