Gauteng education: 15 000 tablets and 50 smartboards are missing

Khume Ramulifho, DA Gauteng Shadow Member of the Executive Committee (MEC) for Education. File pic.

Khume Ramulifho, the DA Gauteng Shadow Member of the Executive Committee (MEC) for Education, said more needs to be done to safeguard the province’s education resources.

According to a reply from the Gauteng Education MEC for Education, Panyaza Lesufi, between 2015 and 2016 a total of 122 smartboards and 17 520 tablets were stolen, with only 72 smartboards and 2 367 tablets recovered. This translates to 15 153 missing tablets and 50 missing smartboards over two years.

“While the full roll-out of tablets for 2017 to Grade 12 learners at no-fee schools is something to be congratulated, we cannot shy away from the fact that the basics are still not in place.”

These basics are:

• The Gauteng Department of Education missed the 30 November 2016 deadline to eradicate school structures built of asbestos-containing materials, thus putting the lives of learners and educators at risk. A new deadline has not been set

• MEC Lesufi is unable to account for the number of maths and science teachers in Gauteng, despite them being critical subjects for the advancement of the economy

• In the first quarter of 2017 (January–May) 31 731 teachers in Gauteng were recorded as absent, and of that number, 110 were recorded as absent without leave

• MEC Lesufi is unable to hold to account the South African Democratic Teachers’ Union (SADTU), which persistently undermines education in the province by, inter alia, holding meetings during teaching time

“On the surface, MEC Lesufi’s ICT agenda appears to be working, but it is experiencing the same problems faced in the implementation of Gauteng Online.”

This was confirmed in a 2016/ 17 report by the Gauteng Provincial Legislature Education Portfolio Committee, pointing to a number of problems in the implementation of the ICT strategy in Gauteng Schools, namely:

• Poor project management

• Safety of devices

• Lack of WiFi connectivity at some schools

• The non-payment of contractors

• Under-qualified or poorly skilled teachers in the ICT sphere

• Lack of a utilisation strategy

“MEC Lesufi and the ANC in Gauteng are falsely seen to be exceptional in the management of Gauteng. The reality is that the residents of Gauteng deserve a government that not only acts when the cameras are rolling but a government they can trust and that truly cares.”

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Janine Viljoen

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