1 000 Western Cape schools will get internet access in 2015

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The Gauteng Provincial Government has been pretty vocal about its plan to provide tablets, laptops and internet to all public schools in Gauteng over the next few years, but the Western Cape isn’t chancing being out done. It’s just announced its own “elearning” plans to provide schools in the province with smart classrooms and internet access.

Education MEC Debbie Schäfer made the announcement at a conference in Cape Town where she said that elearning had been identified as a priority to improve the quality of education in the province.

According to Schäfer, the first batch of schools will be connected via fibre-optic cabling by May 2015 and government hopes to have a 1 000 schools connected to a minimum of 10MB per second connections by the end of 2015. The province will also provide 2 000 thousands smart classrooms, each coming with equipment such as data projectors, laptops, document readers and upgrade existing computer classrooms.

Schäfer also called on developers around the country to help the Department of Education by submitting online education material that learners could access and use in their subject material.

“Currently the Western Cape Education Department has a number of digital education resources available on its website and in schools, such as the telematics project,” Schäfer. “However, there are thousands of excellent digital resources that have been developed worldwide that can support and enhance elearning and teaching in all subjects across all grades.”

“In order to assist with this, the WCED has developed a website, the WCED Catalogue, which will host an online catalogue of elearning. Our aim now is to develop and populate the online catalogue with digital education resources that can be accessed by teachers, learners and parents,” she added.

Schäfer even managed to get a plug in for local talent: “The Western Cape is fortunate in having many talented writers, illustrators, animators, designers, film makers and multimedia developers who have plenty to offer the world of education, not only in South Africa, but internationally.”

“This is an exciting and innovative initiative and I look forward to seeing what resources are available that will help improve education outcomes in this province,” she concluded.

[Source – Western Cape Education Department]