e-Learning tablets worth R3.5 million, gone

Gauteng Education MEC, Panyaza Lesufi and other officials from the Gauteng Department of Education during the launch of the ambitious paperless classroom system.
Gauteng Education MEC, Panyaza Lesufi and other officials from the Gauteng Department of Education during the launch of the ambitious paperless classroom system.

 

It was reported that 17 smartboards, crucial to the rollout of the initiative, were reported stolen have not been recovered.

Following these reports, the Gauteng Department of Education has vowed to tighten up security and safety at provincial schools through implementing capacity building programmes for school safety committees to improve their functionality and efficiency. The department will work together with police, the community and schools to ensure the success of these programmes.

The department revealed this after Democratic Alliance (DA) Gauteng Shadow MEC for Education, Khume Ramulifho, said that more than R1 million in damages to school facilities and equipment was recorded due to break-ins over the December school holidays last year at 23 Gauteng schools.

“A total of 17 smartboards, crucial to the rollout of the provincial government’s e-Learning initiative, were reported stolen and so far, none have been recovered. This was revealed in a written reply to a question posed by the DA on school safety measures to Gauteng Education MEC, Panyaza Lesufi,” said Ramulifho.

According to Ramulifho, Lesufi said that police are still investigating the reported cases and school safety measures are being reviewed by the department.

In addition, Ramulifho said that Lesufi had still not set targets or deadlines for the rollout of safety measures for this academic year.

“It is of vital importance that while the MEC plans to roll out more ICT classrooms and high-level equipment to schools, that these assets are protected,” he said.

In response, the department’s acting spokesperson, Oupa Bodibe said they have a multi-prong approach to school safety for this year which included:

  •  Ensuring all public schools implement their approved school safety policies through increased monitoring by departmental officials.
  •  Strengthening of the partnerships between the department, police and schools.
  •  The deployment of armed security during the night and 10 patrollers during the day, who are supported by surveillance cameras at 403 ICT schools effective from April. The number of schools with this level of security will increase annually.
  •  Search and seizure operations to continue in schools.
  •  A massive rollout of parenting workshops throughout Gauteng in recognition of the connection between pupils’ lack of discipline and poor parenting.
  •  Schools with inadequate fencing and decaying infrastructure will be prioritised for repairs to improve school safety.

Bodiba said, “We would like to make an appeal to community members to safeguard schools and to also provide information that could lead to the arrest of criminals, who continue to steal learning and teaching resources so that these criminals face the full might of the law.”

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  AUTHOR
Aphiwe Boyce
Metro Reporter

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