South Africa: The Department of Basic Education (dbe) Working Together With Telkom in Bridging the ICT Gap in Schools

press release

Teaching in the classroom will never be the same again for some educators and learners in Mpumalanga. In addition to green or blackboards and chalks, now teachers will incorporate technology through the usage of tablets. These pieces of technology will bring the world to the fingertips of teachers who only relied on textbooks.

About 130 teachers in the Emalahleni area of Mpumalanga have now received tablets that will benefit thousands of learners whose experience is expected to be enhanced and made more exciting.

The Minister of Basic Education, Mrs Angie Motshekga, the Minister of Communications, Ms Dina Pule and the CEO of Telkom, Ms Nombulelo Moholi, officially, handed over 130 tablet computers to teachers in six schools in Mpumalanga on 12 February 2013.

The project is aimed at bridging the digital divide in rural schools by providing connectivity as well as teaching aids to teachers where ICT (Information and Communications Technology) has previously been a challenge. This initiative follows on the heels of Telkom having delivered 137 tablet computers to disadvantaged schools in the Western Cape last year. Through this initiative Telkom intends to transform schools into 21st Century centres of learning and teaching.

The schools connectivity programme focuses on provinces wherein the need is most urgent, i.e. Mpumalanga, Eastern Cape, and Limpopo. Telkom's tablet computers offering to Mpumalanga schools will make it easier for the department to introduce learning and teaching in technology based subjects as well as improve the manner teachers currently do their work. Through this initiative, lessons can now be prepared based on curriculum support systems such as Thutong. Teachers will no longer be expected to carry documents around, all the documents can be uploaded on the tablets.

A Leonard Ntshuntshe Secondary School teacher said that, on behalf of other schools, he is happy that Telkom considered the province for the project. "Now that we have these tablets, there will no longer be a need to carry documents to and from classes. All the necessary teaching materials can easily be accessed from the internet," remarked the teacher.

The Executive Mayor of Emalahleni Municipality - Councillor Salome Sithole said that there has been always a need to advance the community and applauded Telkom for their contribution to education. She added that providing tablet computers to the identified schools would improve the "business" of teaching for the better.

Minister Motshekga said Telkom's initiative will do much more than just enhance learning and teaching in schools. The Minister believes that through initiatives such as these, the nation would be better equipped to turn the tide against underdevelopment, skills shortages, joblessness and poverty in the near future.

The Minister said Telkom's initiative has come at right time, this when the government is working hard to strengthen the Foundation phase in all schools. According to the Minister, the Foundation Phase is the pivot on which the schooling system rests and should be well resourced.

"Teacher development is one of our key priority areas, we are confident that with proper training, recipient teachers will integrate the use of these tablet computers in teaching. This will in turn help greatly in improving their work in the classroom" Minister Motshekga said.

"This year we are launching a national education partnership structure whose aim is to pool resources and enhance our efforts in the transformation of the education sector towards better results. Working together we can do more for our country and its children!" the Minister concluded.

Issued by: Department of Basic Education

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