Roll-out of SA's paperless classrooms progressing well

Pretoria - Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi is satisfied with progress made in the roll-out phase of the Paperless Classroom for Grade 12 learners across the province, says the Gauteng Department of Education.

This, after the department recently installed smart interactive boards in 375 identified schools in the province, provided learners with tablets and educators with laptops.

The department on Wednesday said it would also re-furbish classrooms and make them e-ready. The Switch On for the interactive boards was launched last week.

“The MEC and Senior Management visited several schools yesterday, seven days after the launch, to check on the progress made towards the migration of all Grade 12 learners to a paperless learning and teaching environment.

“With regard to classrooms that needed refurbishment, only 145 of 1800 targeted need urgent intervention, contractors who had not met their deadlines were replaced. Interactive boards were installed in most classrooms, except for the ones that were still being refurbished or needed to be fitted with more security features,” the department said.

MEC Lesufi was also pleased that teaching and learning was not disrupted in any way. Where smart-boards had not been installed, the department said educators were able to rely on devices such as tablets and laptops, and in few instances, old method of chalkboards to conduct lessons.

The MEC said extra support should be provided to educators to assist them with the transition to the new method of teaching.

“As part of onsite support, district-based Information Communication Technology (ICT) teams have been established, ICT trained district officials will be deployed to each of the 375 schools for two weeks from 8am to 4pm to provide onsite support for educators,” the department said.

MEC condemns breaking into schools

MEC Lesufi was also concerned by the report of a break-in at Phafogang Secondary School in Rockville, Soweto.

“There was also one report of a learner from Vilakazi Secondary School who was mugged and robbed of his tablet. A case of theft has been opened with the police and the department is in the process of tracking the device,” the department said.

It said the MEC has sent out a message that learners should prioritise their own safety, move in groups, and avoid being targeted by not wearing their 2015 Matric jackets.

The MEC reiterated the department’s commitment and determination to realise its vision to build a world-class education system by modernising public education and improve the standard of performance of the entire system.