182 Learners at Sunward Park High school in Boksburg works on their tablets in class. The school is the first public school to move hundred percent from textbooks to tablets. 190313. Picture: Bongiwe Mchunu

Johannesburg - There wasn’t a school bag in sight. Even though pupils at Sunward Park High School in Boksburg were changing lessons, going from one classroom to another, none had school bags.

Once inside the classroom, they whipped out their tablets and the lessons began.

The public school is the first in South Africa to migrate from using textbooks to going completely digital for all of its 1 200 pupils.

The e-learning project was piloted late last year with a few grades using the tablets, and was rolled out in the entire school this year.

The project was officially launched on Tuesday.

Reetesh Rajkumar, sales and marketing director at MIB Technology, the company that went into a partnership with the school to roll out the project, said going digital was “cleaner and cheaper” because much less paper was used at the school.

Also, there were no service delivery bottlenecks with textbooks having to be stored and distributed to schools.

The tablets allow teachers and pupils to communicate and share information with each other.

They carry multimedia content, teacher-training material, a digital library, e-textbooks and video tutorials.

Principal Ansie Peens said using tablets had allowed the school, which is Wi-Fi-enabled, to move from having different ways of teaching, to teaching and learning in a collaborative manner – with pupils learning from their teachers and teachers learning from their pupils.

She said the tablets were less costly for the school and parents. Pupils could use their own tablets or buy them from the school for between R1 000 and R2 000.

And instead of paying R2 000 for textbooks and other material, parents now only had to pay R300 a year for digital study material.

Basic Education Deputy Minister Enver Surty, who was at the launch, said the e-learning project and the school’s high matric pass rate showed that public schools could work if they received the appropriate support.

He said the department was in the process of digitalising all the curriculum content and making it available online to allow for self-learning. - The Star