Bridging the Digital Divide in Our Provinces Schools
"The successful implementation of technology in our schools is a necessity," said Western Cape Education Minister, Donald Grant on Tuesday.
"Therefore I am pleased that the Western Cape is leading the rest of the country in the delivery and roll-out of ICT infrastructure in our schools and I am confident that by the end of the 2011/2012 financial year, technology will be incorporated in every school in the Western Cape."
Grant said that in November 2001, the Western Cape Education Department (WCED), under the leadership of the then MEC for Education Helen Zille, launched an initiative aimed at ensuring that every school learner had access to Information and Communications Technology (ICT) by 2012.
The project offered huge potential for improving the quality of education in the Western Cape, particularly in disadvantaged schools that lacked adequate teaching and learning resources.
"Nine years later, the Khanya Project is fast approaching their target which is set to eradicate the digital divide in all of our provinces schools," said Grant.
"One thousand, two hundred and twenty-five (1 225) of our schools in the province have already benefited from the project, with another one hundred and sixty-six (166) schools currently in various stages of preparation for the next wave of implementation. Around eight hundred and fifty thousand (850 000) learners have been given access to this technology, with over twenty-six thousand (26 000) educators being empowered to use ICT optimally for curriculum delivery."
One of the schools that has benefitted from the project is Bridgeville Primary in Athlone.
Grant visited the school on Tuesday to view the school's Khanya Laboratory.
"Bridgeville Primary is a prime example of how technology can enhance learning," he said.
"The school has been equipped with a Khanya Lab, which is used support curriculum delivery in areas such as literacy and numeracy, and every classroom has an interactive whiteboard linked to the internet, integrating ICT into classroom teaching."
Grant said that Khanya had provided training to all the educators at the school on how to effectively use the whiteboards in the classroom, as well as, ensure that every educator had completed a one-year certificate in computer literacy.
"One of the learning areas where technology has played a key role at this school is in literacy, and it has contributed to substantial increases in literacy performance by learners over the years," said Grant.
"While Bridgeville Primary has made great gains in literacy it is still underperforming in numeracy. Therefore, in order to help improve numeracy performance, the school has made a collaborative partnership with four (4) other schools in the area, using technology to enhance numeracy learning."
Grant said that through the "Coll@bor8" project, each of the schools will soon use the interactive whiteboards, together with video links, to provide mentorship and support for the maths curriculum. Rondebosch Boys Preparatory School has offered grade-by-grade weekly training and support for maths in the schools, sharing lesson plans, worksheets and will host regular teacher-training sessions at their school.
Grant said that technology had given this school, as well as many others, the opportunity to enhance learning.
"By harnessing the power of technology to deliver a quality curriculum, we could ultimately revolutionize how teaching takes place in this province."
Minister of Education, Donald Grant
Tel: 021 467 2377
Cell: 072 724 1422