SouthAfrica.info (Johannesburg)

South Africa: Free Tablets, Wi-Fi for Gauteng Schools

Gauteng's 2 200 public schools will have access to uncapped wi-fi and 3G connectivity and 88 000 Huawei tablets will be distributed to students from next year as part of the province's e-Learning Solution.

The R396.2-million project will facilitate learning by addressing the digital divide and will provide all pupils an e-mail address and free internet access.

It will replace the Gauteng Online Schools Programme, provincial Finance MEC Mandla Nkomfe said on Wednesday.

"The rebranded e-learning solution will be rolled out at the beginning of next year and will be up and running in January 2014 when schools reopen," Nkomfe said.

"The Gauteng Online programme succeeded in improving computer literacy in public schools and demystified phobias associated with the world wide web."

The replacement of the initiative is expected to build on this foundation.

"Exposing our learners to e-learning techniques ought to occur at a tender age," he said. "We therefore elected an e-learning solution that could mediate meaningfully, but in a sustainable manner, while being financially viable."

Connectivity and cloud solution firm Cloudseed won a two-year contract to provide network connectivity for the project, following which the Gauteng Broadband Network will provide this service.

Short-term insurance will be provided for losses and damages, along with ongoing maintenance and support.

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