Gaut­eng’s smart school pro­ject mak­ing progress

CityPress - - Gauteng State Of The Province - LLEWE­LYN PRINCE projects@city­press.co.za

Gaut­eng is well on its way to achiev­ing its goal of pa­per­less, tech­no­log­i­cally ad­vanced schools.

The Gaut­eng depart­ment of ba­sic education’s pro­ject team for smart schools, un­der the lead­er­ship of MEC Panyaza Le­sufi, is cur­rently plan­ning to im­ple­ment phase three of the ini­tia­tive, which will in­clude the re­main­ing Grade 12 classes in schools where fees are paid.

All Grade 11 classes will be in­cluded in the pro­gramme in the 2016/17 fi­nan­cial year.

Phase four will in­clude grades 9 and 10 in the 2017/18 fi­nan­cial year, with grades 7 and 8 com­ing on board in the 2018/19 fi­nan­cial year.

The Gaut­eng depart­ment of ba­sic education launched the first phase of the pro­ject in Jan­uary last year with seven schools, which ben­e­fited more than 7 000 pupils.

Phase two tar­geted ma­tric­u­lants in fee­less town­ship schools, reach­ing more than 64 000 pupils.

The ini­tia­tive is a five-year pro­ject that will be im­ple­mented in phases, with the main ob­jec­tive be­ing to change class­room prac­tice and im­prove pupils’ re­sults by in­tro­duc­ing tech­nol­ogy into class­rooms.

Smart class­rooms and schools are part of the prov­ince’s plans to im­prove the education sys­tem in Gaut­eng.

Gaut­eng premier David Makhura said in his state of the prov­ince ad­dress last year that about R2.6 bil­lion had been as­signed to in­fra­struc­ture for education.

“We will also change ex­ist­ing schools into smart schools.”

Ac­cord­ing to Makhura, many new smart schools have al­ready been built.

“In ad­di­tion, we have 88 000 tablet com­put­ers for use in schools and will con­tinue with en­hanced e-learn­ing.”

Makhura said that, with smart schools, his ad­min­is­tra­tion wanted to move closer to the “kind of so­ci­ety en­vis­aged in the Na­tional De­vel­op­ment Plan where op­por­tu­ni­ties are not de­ter­mined by birth, but by abil­ity, education and hard work”. Oupa Bodibe, act­ing spokesper­son for the MEC for education, said the smart school ini­tia­tive in­volved con­nect­ing schools to the in­ter­net and pro­vid­ing teach­ers with lap­tops and pupils with tablets. Smart schools have in­ter­ac­tive writ­ing boards and are also pro­vided with ap­proved ebooks and mul­ti­me­dia con­tent, pro­fes­sional de­vel­op­ment and train­ing.

“As part of the pro­ject, schools re­ceive re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion and sup­port on phys­i­cal as well as elec­tronic se­cu­rity.”

He said re­search showed that pupils’ re­sults were im­proved by smart class­rooms, while there was also an im­prove­ment in at­ten­dance and teach­ers who spent more of their time in class­rooms pre­par­ing their lessons.

“It has brought about ex­cite­ment in­side and out­side the class­room. Pupils are now equipped with re­search tools that have a pos­i­tive im­pact on their prepa­ra­tions for as­sess­ment.”

PHOTO: ALET PRE­TO­RIUS

TAP HERE FOR SUC­CESS Njabulo Nd­ji­mande and Siph­e­sihle Zulu (both 10 years old) of the Gugule­sizwe Pri­mary School in Davey­ton use tablets as part of the smart class­rooms education ini­tia­tive

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