The department started the Paperless Classroom Project in 2015. It is a five-year programme targeting no-fee schools in the townships.
Giving an update on the programme on Monday, MEC Lesufi said the first phase, which was the pilot, had seven full ICT schools, including five secondary and two primary schools.
“By the end of 2015, the project was extended to Grade 12 classrooms in 377 no-fee township schools,” MEC Lesufi said.
1 800 Grade 12 classrooms have been refurbished and smartboards installed. 3 393 Grade 12 educators were trained in using ICT in education and given laptops.
64 000 Grade 12 learners were given tablets with the relevant e-learning content as well as well connectivity.
MEC Lesufi said the plan was to roll out the project to Grade 11 classrooms in 377 no-fee township schools during 2016. However, the process has been delayed for a number of reasons.
“Firstly, the department had to address residual challenges from the Grade 12 project, including theft of smart boards and tablets not returned by learners or returned in bad shape. Secondly, financial constraints have also delayed the rollout to Grade 11,” said MEC Lesufi.
He said the next steps during the current academic year include the refurbishment of 2 134 classrooms in 377 no-fee township schools.
“This includes changing the look and feel of the classrooms and installing smart boards and e-boards, especially for accounting and mathematics. Learners will come to a changed classroom after the September break,” MEC Lesufi said.
Three thousand Grade 11 teachers have been trained on the use of ICT in education. The teachers will be given a teaching laptop.
Based on the Grade 12 experience, MEC Lesufi said the department has decided to postpone the issuing of tablets to the Grade 11 class of 2016.
New schools to be opened
MEC Lesufi confirmed that in the next two months, the department plans to open schools in Nelmapius and Soshanguve East.
“Ten new schools will be opened by January 2017. The new schools follow a new prototype of schools and have multiple educational and extra-mural facilities,” he said.
Dealing with misconduct
The MEC also addressed serious cases of misconduct from educators, staff and learners. He said the department has decided to fast track cases such as sexual misconduct.
“Several teachers and educators have faced disciplinary action since the beginning of January 2016. Between April and July 2016, 45 officials have been dismissed. They faced charges ranging from financial irregularities to sexual misconduct, of which 30 were dismissed for absconding.”
Twelve learners were expelled for misconduct.