Newspaper clipping – The Daily News – 28th July 2010
R68m laptop project lift classroom experience
The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education wants to transform text-book oriented classrooms to electronic format instruction to boost teaching and learning in the province.
A R68-million project has been unveiled that will see almost half of KZN teachers – 48 000 – receiving a laptop computer with internet access, relevant software and other multimedia aids, to prepare classroom lessons.
Education officials believe that equipping teachers and school managers with computers will help improve year-end results and also provide immediate benefits to pupils.
The province has about 87 000 teachers and Mchunu said the department hoped to have stretched the rollout to all of them by the end of next year.
The initiative is being managed by the Education Labour Relations Council (ELRC) and involves suppliers that include laptop manufacturers Dell-Laptitude, Lenovo and Mustek. It also includes information technology providers Fujitsu and Hewlett-Packard, information and communication technologies (ICT) distributor Pinnacle Africa and Sahara Systems, Telkom and cellular network providers MTN, Vodacom and Cell C.
The department has also partnered with computer software developers Symantec, Adobe Systems South Africa, Cisco Systems networking academy, as well as Intel SA to assist with ICT interventions. Microsoft SA is also on board, as is Mindset Network, a non-governmental organization that has produced curriculum-aligned education content in the form of videos, printouts and computer-based multimedia formats.
Another NGO, Schoolnet South Africa, which promotes the use of information and communication technologies as a resource for teaching and learning, will be responsible for training teachers how to use the laptops.
The ICT package, which includes the laptop, will cost teachers R250 a month for five years, but they will receive a monthly allowance of R130 from the department.
Mahalingum Govender, the ELRC general secretary, said teachers would be able to take the laptops home to prepare for lessons. The software that has been installed on the laptops covered all subjects in the curriculum, he said.