Home | Media Releases Index page

Media Release

Wednesday, 10 April, 2002

eLearning will 'reshape education process' in the W Cape

Statement by André Gaum, Western Cape Minister of Education.

The Western Cape Education Department (WCED) is implementing various strategies to ensure that the province realises the full potential of information and communication technologies in education.

These "eLearning" strategies will reshape the education process in the Western Cape. They include:

  • The Khanya Technology in Education Project, which is developing and implementing ways of improving teaching and learning, or curriculum delivery, using ICT.
  • The Telecommunications Project, which will complete the process of linking almost every school in the province to the internet in 2002; and
  • The "Dassie Project", which is developing and implementing ways of improving teaching and learning in Further Education and Training Institutions, or technical colleges.

Khanya's long-term target is to enable every teacher in every school in the Western Cape to use appropriate and available technology to ensure effective and efficient curriculum delivery.

It will take a long time to achieve this goal, and will require considerable resources. We plan to reach this target by the start of the 2012 academic year.

In the meantime, we are starting where the need is greatest and where we are most likely to achieve results.

We are therefore focusing our attention on well-managed schools in poor areas, where new technology will make the most difference to the lives of our teachers and learners.

We will be able to deliver curriculum to a certain extent to almost every school by the end of 2002, via the internet and email.

However, Khanya's objectives are much broader than basic, electronic communication, and involve the whole education process. Khanya's activities to date are already starting to reshape the way we approach teaching and learning.

The stated goal of Khanya is to promote learning and to maximise educator capacity by integrating the use of appropriate, available and affordable technology into the curriculum delivery process. The objectives are to:

    • Increase educator capacity and effectiveness by means of technology
    • Harness the power of technology to deliver curriculum
    • Enhance the quality of the learning experience in the classroom, providing an opportunity for learners to benefit from a variety of learning styles
    • As different technologies mature, integrate appropriate and available technology into the curriculum delivery process
    • Use technology to assist all disabled learners to maximise learning
    • Improve Senior Certificate and FETS results, as well as learner outcomes in all grades, in terms of number of passes and quality of results
    • Increase the number of learners taking Mathematics and Science on the higher grade and coping successfully
    • Increase the number of learners qualified and competent to enter tertiary education institutions after obtaining their Senior Certificates and FETS
    • Improve numeracy and literacy in lower grades in order to build a stronger foundation for future matriculants
    • Prepare all learners for the Information Age
    • Narrow the digital divide
    • Create a technology rich province
    • Provide all educators and learners in the province with an e-mail address

Eventually, all schools in the province will be reached involving:

    • Over 1 500 schools
    • Approximately 26 000 educators
    • More than 900 000 learners

Currently (April 2002) computer laboratories have been implemented (or are in the final stages of implementation) in 130 schools (about 60% High Schools and 40% Primary Schools).

The costs of our installations can vary from R50 000 to R500 000, depending on specific requirements.

A networked computer laboratory of 25 workstations, complete with education software, can cost about R500 000. This would include peripheral equipment, air-conditioning, upgrading electricity supplies, security and custom-built, stable furnishing.

In some cases computers have also been implemented in class rooms (typically four computers per class room) since it is believed that the real value of technology will be realised once curriculum delivery is fully integrated with the use of technology.

A sub-project, the "Alternative Technology" project is continuously searching more efficient and affordable models and currently the thin-client model is considered for future implementations. Thin-client models involve placing computing power in networking servers rather than in workstations. Workstations do not have to be stand-alone computers.

One of the focus areas of the project is on Public-Private Partnerships, whereby sponsors and donors are invited to participate in the project. In this way the private sector can make their contribution to ensure that they will have an educated work force over the next few decades.

Khanya's other sub-projects include:

  • A Learning Management System: A requirements analysis is under way to develop an efficient delivery system of material to all schools. This will be a web based system whereby curriculum material will be made to all schools in the province.

  • Needs Analysis: A thorough study is made of all schools, current technology employed there, as well as specific needs, to determine future roll-out strategies.

The WCED launched Khanya in 2001. Lessons learnt to date include the following:

  • One size does not fit all: There are so many factors making each school a unique institution that it is not feasible to impose one model on all schools. Khanya therefore approaches each school as a separate entity and develop a model for that school based on its needs.

  • The tail must not wag the dog: Technology must never be the main driving force of the project. The core business of the WCED, and hence of schools, is to deliver curriculum. Therefore, each implementation must be guided by curriculum needs, rather than what is fashionable in the realm of technology.

  • We cannot do it alone: The prohibitive cost of technology dictates that partnerships need to be forged: parent communities, the WCED, as well as the private sector need to contribute to ensure that this project remains viable.

Our installations to date have generated considerable excitement and support in our schools and local communities. eLearning will play an increasingly important role in improving access to quality education in the Western Cape.

Issued by:
The Communications Directorate
Western Cape Education Department
Private Bag X9114
Cape Town 8000
Tel: (021) 467-2531
Fax: (021) 467-2363
Email: pattwell@pawc.wcape.gov.za
 return to: Home | Media Releases Index page