#CommitToFinish: ePortal provides increased support to learners
Statement by Minister Debbie Schäfer, Minister of Education Western Cape
At the start of the lockdown, the closure of our country’s schools on the 18th of March was envisaged as an extended holiday. The plan was not to have any teaching and learning taking place, and to rather shorten holidays later in the year to make up the lost time.
But the WCED knew that we could not let this time go to waste, knowing that the lockdown could be extended and that learners would need eLearning support during that time.
The eLearning Directorate immediately set about expanding the server capacity of and adding resources to our ePortal, so that learners could continue learning as the school closure continued beyond a month, adding amazing new resources like the weekly lesson plans for learners and their parents, tutorials, videos, eBooks and more. School was closed, but learning was open!
Now that all of our grades are back at school (albeit in a rotational manner for some grades), we’d like to provide an update on the progress made by our eLearning Directorate in supporting our learners.
I am pleased to report that both the ePortal’s usage and the number of resources available has increased significantly.
- The number of resources on the site has gone from 14 500 when lockdown began, to over 26 000 in September, of which 20 100 are free to use! This is an incredible achievement and we thank the eLearning and Curriculum directorates for their tireless work in making sure our learners have access to a wide variety of resources.
- The percentage of resources on the ePortal that are free to use has increased from 57% to 76% – all but three of the 11 865 resources added since March have been free to use. Most of these were developed by the WCED.
- The number of unique visitors to the site has also increased since the lockdown began – from just under 250 000, to 314 000 in September.
- Importantly, the percentage of returning users has almost doubled, while the total number of page views has more than doubled to 1.66 million, meaning that visitors are using the site in a repeated and more extensive manner to support learning than they did before.
In fact, the ePortal is not only assisting learners in the Western Cape, but in other provinces too. Over 20% of the users are currently from Gauteng, with a further 7% from KwaZulu-Natal and 2% from the Eastern Cape. We are pleased that the value of this resource is recognised by learners and parents across the country.
Now, in the run up to the final NSC exams, the 4 000 specific matric resources on our ePortal are providing our Grade 12s with valuable revision support as they #CommitToFinish their matric year. The WCED has provided more resources to the Class of 2020 than any matric year before them – through our ePortal, radio lessons, and the Telematics programme.
Our 2020 matric revision booklet was also delivered to schools for distribution to every matric learner. It provides advice on the examination, bursary options and support networks, as well as old exam papers for eight high-enrolment subjects (English Home Language, Afrikaans First Additional Language, Accounting, Business Studies, Geography, History, Life Sciences, Mathematics, Mathematical Literacy and Physical Sciences).
With one week to go to the first paper, this is the ideal time to log on to the WCED ePortal to access the variety of revision resources available if you have not already done so: https://wcedeportal.co.za/
While this has been a difficult and disruptive year, we truly believe that if you work hard and dedicate the next few weeks to doing everything you can to revise, you will make it through the exams successfully.
You’ll thank yourself later!
Spokesperson to Minister Debbie Schäfer
Western Cape Ministry of Education