KwaZulu-Natal schools receive ICT boost

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Durban - Learners across 60 schools in KwaZulu-Natal are set to benefit from the new exciting world of Information Communication Technology (ICT).

The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education opened 60 computer laboratories at various schools across the province, Thursday, as part of its strategy to provide learners with 21st century equipment.

Provincial MEC for Education Ina Cronje said each laboratory had been equipped with 25 networked computers, laptops, data projectors and smart boards.

She said the ICTs would enhance educational reforms by enabling teachers and learners to move away from traditional approaches to teaching and learning.

"We have moved away from the processes of mere chalk and talk where teachers are the only sources of knowledge; and learning is characterised by learners who sit still and listen to the teacher," she said.

She added that experience worldwide suggests that ICT plays an important role in the transformation of education and training.

These ICT laboratories are leading edge learning spaces with ergonomically custom-built workstations that ensure the room can be used for curriculum integration.

This, the MEC said, is a departure from previous ICT facilities which could only be used to teach computer applications-related skills.

A further 500 schools have been provided with single computers and printers for administrative purposes, while 200 schools have been connected to the internet and a total of 6000 educators have been trained in basic computer literacy.

The MEC said close to R51 million has been spent by the department on this project across all 12 districts since January 2008, adding that with the exception of those schools without electricity, all schools now have at least one or two computers for administrative purposes.

"This year we are going to provide a computer and a printer to all the schools without electricity and these will use advanced solar technology for the supply of electrical power," she said.

The White Paper 7, she said provides a national policy framework for the use of ICT as a resource to support teaching and learning in both the General Education and Training, and Further Education and Training bands.

It has been developed by the government to bridge the huge digital divide between the haves and the have nots - a gap described by economists as "big as the Grand Canyon".