Western Cape government promises free internet in all schools by end of 2016

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The Western Cape provincial government has made a commitment to ensure that all schools have access to free, high-speed internet by the end of 2016.

This statement was made today by Brian Schreuder, the department of education deputy director general of curriculum and assessment management in the province’s department of education, at the Western Cape government’s eLearning Game Changer launch in Cape Town.

eLearning is one of the province’s eight Game Changer key priorities areas in the current term of office, announced in Premier Zille’s State of the Province Address earlier this year.

Today’s big reveal however focused on the launch of the ePortal, an online platform for teachers, parents, school children and governing bodies to get helpful resources that can be used in the classroom, admin offices and at home.

On the ePortal, you’ll be able to find the following education-related resources:

  • Learning material: School curriculum, general knowledge exercises, learning techniques, and online courses.
  • eLearning: Online courses and digital assignments.
  • Special needs education: Learning material, extra-curricular activities, specialised schools, rules, regulations and emotional support.
  • School life: Information and tips on discipline, safety and security, bullying, parents’ involvement, and emotional and physical health.
  • Exam preparation: Information and tips on studying for exams, dealing with the stress of exams, exams monitoring, and evaluating and marking.
  • Art of teaching: How to become a teacher, teaching techniques, classroom management, planning classes, and theories in education.
  • Finance and administration: School fees and bursaries, cost of education, school financial management, governmental education budget, and fundraising.
  • Education policies: Admission policies, curriculum and exam policies, health and safety policies, transport policies, and progression policies.

Parents and learners can rate and request educational content over and above what’s currently available.

“The ePortal represents a fundamental shift from top-down to demand-driven governance, providing learners with resources that they feel are most helpful,” the Western Cape Education Department said in a statement. “This approach will revolutionise teaching and learning by placing the needs of schools first. This will also include the development of partnerships across the education sector (including corporates) and we’ll continue to work with the private sector in order to expand this project even further and encourage them to invest in new eTools and eTechnologies.”

The province highlighted the continued distribution of mobiles and digital resources as well as teacher training partnerships with private businesses as part of its future plans for elearning in the Western Cape.

You can access the ePortal from any computer with an internet connection, alternatively, those who don’t have access to a PC or internet can visit any Thusong centreCape Access centrepublic library or any other free WiFi zones to get access.