Gauteng’s paperless classrooms just a load of bling
WE HAVE received matric results for the class of 2016, but to my surprise, Gauteng, with its tablets and smart boards, never obtained even a single national award.
Gauteng lacks prioritising strategies. As a province we are facing a very challenging year ahead.
While our senior officials engage in wasteful expenditure, our schools in townships have dysfunctional libraries, broken windows, exposed electric wires, cracks or holes on the floor of mobile classes, overcrowded classrooms, no halls, a high teacher/learner ratio, lack of furniture, and toppling ceilings where doves fly on top of learners’ heads every five minutes.
These are some of the unbelievable conditions we are subjected to as educators in some of our township schools. These are the schools where learners are given tablets, and smart boards are installed.
In our schools we have a two-tier education system, one for Grade 12 and another for lower grades. The one for Grade 12 is pumped with resources, and a bigger budget is allocated to them, while ignoring other classes.
I warned in an article that appeared in a daily paper on July 24, 2015 that “The prevailing chaos in education won’t be changed by a mere tablet and smart board.” I also cautioned on May 1, 2016 that “Gauteng Education isn’t getting its priorities right.”
How many tablets got stolen or broken? Who is going to pay for that? I don’t see anything special about tablets and smart boards. Is there any research that shows the use of tablets and smart boards improves teaching and learning? Nope.
When teachers are teaching, especially in our townships’ overcrowded classes, learners connect to WhatsApp and talk to each other.
What does that tell us? It is not a sin to introduce technology in our schools, but planning is very important as well. You don’t just wake up with an idea and immediately implement it without doing research. The model in which the paperless class room is being implemented is wrong.
I don’t believe teachers get enough support to improve their ability and will to teach. I dub the Gauteng paperless classroom project unnecessary bling. Ivory Park