Gaut­eng’s pa­per­less class­rooms just a load of bling

The Star Early Edition - - LETTERS - Enock Shishenge

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

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