Speech by Minister Donald Grant: Official opening of the iPad/Tablet Centre - Eversdal Primary School, 12 June 2013 | Western Cape Education Department

Speech by Minister Donald Grant: Official opening of the iPad/Tablet Centre - Eversdal Primary School, 12 June 2013

Good Evening

I am delighted to be here today at the launch of this new centre which will help assist the educators of Eversdal PS in the delivery of the curriculum to their learners.

John Dewey, an American philosopher and educational reformer, once said that "If we teach today as we taught yesterday, we rob our children of tomorrow".

In a world where information and communications technology (or ICT) has made it possible for more people to access, generate and share ideas and in a world where ICT is playing a greater role in the way that we do business than before, we urgently need to consider how our basic education system can maximise these new possibilities.

I must reiterate however that our teachers are traditionally and importantly the primary facilitators of learning.

Dit is nie anders nie in 'n wêreld waar ons is besig om groter vertroue te plaas op stelsels en tegnologie om die ontwikkeling van ons onderwys stelsel en die opvoeding van ons kinders te ondersteun. Sonder die ondersteuning van ons onderwysers sal die bekendstelling van nuwe stelsels en nuwe tegnologie in ons skole min kans ver sukses hê.

In today's advancing technological environment, however, we need to work smarter and better to ensure that our educators have the tools to provide our learners with a good quality education.

That is why today's launch is so exciting. By integrating the use of these tablets into the classroom environment, we are working smarter and better - equipping our teachers and advancing the ICT skills of our learners at the same time.

Vandag wil ek graag met u n paar van die strategieë wat die Wes-Kaapse regering het ontwikkel IKT te integreer in die provinsiale skoolstelsel deel.

In the Western Cape, the provincial government made a commitment in 2009:

  • to improve the literacy and numeracy levels of learners throughout the system;
  • to increase the number of learners who complete their schooling and the number of learners who leave school with the option of pursing higher education and training opportunities; and
  • to reduce the number of under-performing high schools in the province.

We are pleased to be seeing a positive trend in the performance of our public ordinary schools, particularly in the results achieved over the last two years in the National Senior Certificate examinations which are written by our learners in their final year of school.

However, we still face many challenges which include expanding access to quality ICT teaching and learning resources to all schools in the province, particularly those serving our poorer communities.

We therefore recognise that if we are to progress as an education system we need to decide not if but how we will use ICT in its various forms to support and improve the provision of a quality education at all our schools.

The Western Cape Government has therefore taken the lead in prioritising the delivery and roll-out of ICT infrastructure to strengthen and support quality teaching and learning in our schools.

In preparing learners for the future, the Department has developed an e-Education Vision that will see the expansion of our existing technology base and digital resources and the introduction of appropriate solutions that are responsive to changing education needs.

Ons glo dat e-Onderwys in die eerste plek gaan oor leer en onderrig, en dit is die 'e' in e-Onderwys wat leer en onderrig verryk en aanvul in die klaskamer. Die 'e' in e-Onderwys vervang dus nie ons onderwysers nie maar is veel eerder 'n hulpbron wat bedoel is om ons onderwysers by te staan met die belangrike werk wat hulle doen.

The Department's e-Education Vision recognises that there are a number of technology trends that challenge the conventional curriculum delivery models that we have become accustomed to in the provisioning of education.

From mobile learning, cloud computing, one-to-one computing and teacher managers to redefining learning spaces and smart portfolio assessments, the Western Cape Education Department is alive to these trends and will do what is necessary and possible to align its curriculum delivery models accordingly to improve education outcomes.

Die Wes-Kaapse regering het 'n visie vir IKT in die onderwys, naamlik die volgende:

  • onderwysers en onderwysbestuurders wat bemagtig is om tegnologie effektief en innoverend aan te wend;
  • leerders wat bemagtig is om tegnologie effektief en innoverend aan te wend;
  • modelle, metodeologieë, onderwyskunde en digitale inhoud wat aansluit by die onderwysbehoeftes van ons leerders;
  • robuuste en betroubare IKT-stelsels wat e-Onderwys ondersteun;
  • tegnologieverrykte omgewings wat effektiewe leerdergesentreerde e-leer moontlik maak; en
  • stewige en betroubare IKT-stelsels wat die administratiewe las sal verlig wat dikwels met beplanning en bestuur vereenselwig word.

Die nuwe era van e-Onderwys in die Wes-Kaap is 'n natuurlike progressie van die IKT-oplossings wat deur die Wes-Kaap Onderwysdepartement ingestel is oor die afgelope 10 jaar.

We are currently supporting e-Education through a number of channels including:

  1. The provisioning of technology to new schools and the upgrading or advancement of technology in existing schools;
  2. Researching and evaluating the use of e-Education methodologies and cutting-edge technologies;
  3. Training in ICT for educators;
  4. The sourcing, procurement and provisioning of digital resources through multiple access points; and
  5. On-going support of e-Education at schools.

Last year, the Premier of the Western Cape, Helen Zille, made an exciting announcement in her State of the Province address regarding the establishment of a Special Purpose Vehicle or Public Private Partnership to bring broadband access to schools, as well as provincial and municipal government facilities, in the Western Cape over the next two and half years.

It is our view that high speed broadband connectivity is the foundation on which ICT can be integrated into our schools, making equitable access to the information highway possible for all users, regardless of location.

High speed broadband connectivity will enable the Department to improve the quality of education in this province through the provisioning of high quality curriculum material and teaching aids, improved communication and remote technical support.

As part of efforts to integrate ICT into our schools, we plan to provide schools with appropriate new technologies in innovative and appropriate configurations and architectures. This will include Wi-Fi technology in all schools to expand access to the broadband network.

As some of you are aware, last year we provided to principals, tablets to support them in the work that they do. It is our hope that the provision of these tablets will help them work smarter.

We are also currently investigating the possible use of hand-held tablets or devices at schools with various role-players. We will be interested to see how this particular centre here at Eversdal contributes to an improved teaching environment and could influence future investments by the WCED in this regard.

Ons moet ons self afvra of daar n verband is tussen die gebruik van IKT in skole en leerder prestasie, en indien wel, hoe kan ons sorg dat hierdie skakel tot die grootste voordeel is.

Ons moet ook onderwysers hê wat ondersteunend is en wat ons pogings e-Onderwys in te voer in hul klaskamers te bevorder.

This evening's launch, is an indication that our schools are taking the integration of ICT in education seriously.

And in order to advance these efforts further we need the support of the private sector, such as companies like Copytype. I would like to thank you for this investment in education.

Investing in education is the best investment one can make in this country and contributions from the private sector and civil society to the improvement of education outcomes are invaluable not only to us as Government, but also to the learners themselves.

Thank you.