Paperless Classrooms are Finally Here!..Gauteng Leads


THE Gauteng education department will need R17bn to roll out “paperless classrooms” — which will make use of information and communications technology (ICT) and tablets as tools in teaching and learning — throughout the province within five years.

This is according to education MEC Panyaza Lesufi. The provincial department launched seven paperless classrooms around Gauteng in the second week of January, which will make teaching and learning completely electronic for pupils over the coming academic years.

Mr Lesufi hopes the use of technology in classrooms will raise standards to international levels and encourage children to take pure maths instead of maths literacy as a subject.

He told reporters at Boitumelong Secondary School in Tembisa that the project, up to the point of delivery, had been funded by partners in the private sector but that the department was seeking ways to fund technical support and maintenance of the tablets.

“In the 2017-18 financial year, it is the fifth administration’s hope to ensure that all children in township and model C schools should have migrated to this system,” Mr Lesufi said. “All township schools that got 100% in their matric exams will be in the first batch to get these paperless classrooms.”

Private sector partners that have assisted with funds as well as technical support include MTN, which has also provided centres at each school for pupils to download curriculum material for their lessons, and Huawei, which provided the tablets. Old Mutual gave R1.2m worth of ICT tools to 115 Gauteng schools late last year.

Mr Lesufi said the amounts to be contributed by the private sector and state organs such as the Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services as well as the Independent Communications Authority of SA would become clear by April. The seven pilot classrooms cost about R7m each to make paperless, he said.

Once schools are provided with the technology, additional costs will be for technicians at schools and a tracking system installed in each tablet, as well as for a private security company to recover stolen devices.

Mr Lesufi said the project was expected to make Gauteng’s schools internationally competitive.

“This is also part of a five-year project to ensure that children take up pure maths and not math literacy. We also

MEC Lesufi

want to ensure that the best-performing province in SA can compete with the best countries internationally,” he said.

Boitumelong Secondary School principal Sesi Makena told Business Day that since the Tembisa community had heard the school would have paperless classrooms, a high number of parents had sought to enrol their children there. “We started on (January) the sixth and we can already see that learners are more focused and there is high attendance in class. We have a lot more applications that usual but we are have already exceeded our 1,300 capacity by 82 and don’t want to overstretch ourselves,” Ms Makena said.

Tablets will be connected to a server through broadband, Wi-Fi and 4G connections. The provincial department has arranged for the purchase of books for the paperless classrooms in case of technical difficulties or load-shedding.

Courtesy of BDLive