Schools launch paperless system

Teacher Ntombikayise Maphanga teaches her class via the new digital system. Gauteng MEC for Education Panyaza Lesufi, and other officials, monitor the process.

Lesufi said the project would pave the way towards paperless classrooms for all public school pupils in the province over the next three years. “This is a milestone for the provincial government and the country. We want to maintain our top spot in the country and we want to compete with the best in the world,” Lesufi said.

The project will be launched by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, when the school re-opens. This new paperless education system in the province is called the Big Switch On project. Lesufi said, “People will see the difference especially in township schools, where all teachers will have laptops and every pupil will have a tablet. In the pilot phase, 13 schools will be connected.”

Lesufi stated he does not want to see teachers using 20th century teaching methods to teach the pupils in the 21st century. Chalk and chalk boards will soon be a thing of the past in Gauteng. Our mission is that by 2017, all the schools in Gauteng will be connected using e-learning methods. The school’s principal Sesi Makena said, “The teachers and pupils are excited; it as an honour for us to be the first recipient of this project. We are very passionate and proud about it. It gives us a huge responsibility being in the pilot phase because if we fail, we will fail the whole province.”

Meanwhile Simphiwe Molefe, a Grade 11 pupil, said, “We have been trained to use the tablet and smart boards and we have been trained on how to keep our tablets safe. We are trained on how to do our schoolwork with this digital system.” Molefe added that they were told not to fight the criminals who mug them on the street, but to release the gadget. “We were told that the tablets have a tracker and that they will be retrieved very easily from the criminals with all systems in place. We will be targets of criminals as they are aware that we are getting tablets.”

Aphiwe Boyce
Metro Reporter

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