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THE BIG SWITCH ON - HAS YOUR LEARNING EXPERIENCE BEEN CHANGED?
Digital Strategy is a MUST for SA Education’s New Paperless System
At the start of 2015, Gauteng introduced a paperless education system to seven schools in the region. It gives pupils access to learning material, workbooks and other subject matter through the use of information communications technology (ICT).
The schools in this pilot project have received state-of-the-art internet connection and each pupil will receive a tablet, turning ordinary schools into “classrooms of the future”, according to the provincial Department of Education.
The Big Switch On, it says, is the first step in realising Gauteng’s vision of building a world-class education system by modernising public education and improving the standard of performance across the entire system. Pupils at the school said that the new devices would make learning more exciting. Many have never owned a computer, let alone a tablet. “I do not think I will ever miss a day of school again and I will never have a reason to fail science or maths ever,” said Pearl Mokoena, in Grade 10.
The time for investment in change is NOW
“Technology, the internet, a multi-skilled workforce, innovation and collaboration are critical to the success of the knowledge economy. To thrive in the 21st century, we need to acquire new skills and be able to adapt to a rapidly changing work environment. One of the factors constraining economic growth in South Africa is the relative shortage of e-skills.”
In a World Economic Forum report, South Africa’s global e-readiness ranking had dropped from 47th place in 2007 to 70th in 2013 – it was for this reason that the country had adopted a national e-skills plan. The Big Switch On was in line with this plan and the need to improve the quality of education.
“It enables educators and learners to access resources that exist beyond the walls of the classroom. Indeed, it enables them to access resources from the other side of the globe,” Ramaphosa said.
“It gives them access to the world. More Importantly, it also gives them the skills that are needed to succeed in this world.”
The divide between the skills learned and the skills needed frustrated efforts to tackle youth unemployment, prompting the need to support and expand this programme. “If our economy is to grow, if the lives of our people are to be improved, if business is to thrive – then we need more of this.”
Ramaphosa also emphasised the role of learners. “Ultimately it is you, the learners, who need to be responsible for your future by taking seriously the opportunities that now exist. Your commitment to learning today will determine your success tomorrow,” he said.
How are you empowering yourself to make better use of the resources at hand? Write to us and tell us how Technology has changed your school experience.