South Africa’s Gauteng province intends to make all 2,200 schools in the region smart classrooms over the next few years; this is according to Panyaza Lesufi, Gauteng MEC for Education told CNBC Africa.
Lesufi made the comments on the sidelines of the e-Government summit on information technology.
“We have covered almost 376 schools and we are expanding into four hundred schools by the end of the next year. We intend to cover 2,200 school populations in our province,” said Lesufi.
“We believe that if we cannot utilise the 21st century methods to teach our children, we are out,” he added.
Lesufi added that the target was very simple and shows that every teacher could utilise a laptop and every classroom would be turned into a smart classroom.
“Every child does not need to carry school bags; every teacher will have prepared lessons, and our assessments process will be done at the smart board. This will bring a level playingfield in the education sector by making sure quality education is accessible to everyone.”
He also added that, in order to achieve this, the province was going to spend 17 billion rand or 1.2 billion dollars over the next five years.
“We have already spent three billion rand to ensuring that every teacher has a laptop and every learner has a tablet,” said Lesufi.
The MEC added that the province could only achieve this initiative through partnerships with the private sector.
“We intend to partner with international bodies, private sector and everyone who wants to invest into our education system,” he said.
The summit is being attended by over 500 senior industry executives, local and international experts, as well as representatives from all government tiers and sector organisations.
He also added that the province was factoring the criminal challenges in the province when developing tablets that are given to students.
“We are not in the Vatican City; we are in Gauteng so we have to incorporate security features on tablets we are building.”