Teacher Laptop Initiative back on track - Motshekga

Friday, May 18, 2012

Pretoria - Implementation of the Teacher Laptop Initiative is back on track with more teachers having to access this resource.

"Work on a new funding model, procurement and administration processes to strengthen the initiative is going very well," Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga announced on Thursday during the department's Budget Vote in Parliament.

The Teacher Laptop Initiative was announced in July 2010 with a key focus on teacher training and development in ICT, computer literacy and pedagogy. The project formed part of a cohesive plan by the department to improve the overall quality of education by making resources available to learners and teachers in the public education sector.

The minister said on Thursday that during the latter part of the year she would be making "a very exciting announcement" in regard to the project.

She said the broader plans on using ICT to enhance learning and teaching were gathering steam and the department had developed, together with the Department of Communication, a connectivity plan providing a comprehensive framework for achieving cost effective and efficient connectivity for all schools.

"DGs of the two departments and provincial HODs signed the Telkom Masters Services Agreement on 27 March 2012 for Phase 1 Implementation of the Connectivity Plan for Schools, the first phase will provide connectivity to 1 650 schools."

In 2011, 2 334 schools were connected to the internet for the purpose of teaching and learning, while 7 008 schools were using the internet for administration purposes.

Motshekga further announced the establishment of nine ICT resource centres - one per province - sponsored by the Vodacom Foundation. The centres are expected to accelerate the training of teachers in the use of ICT to support teaching and learning.

Following last year's promise, Motshekga said the department had established a Planning and Delivery Oversight Unit. She said that with the unit's strategic positioning, they were able to prioritise support for underperforming districts targeting schools and classrooms.

By the end of the second quarter of 2011, 4 612 schools had been reached.

'Under its first head, Ronald Swartz and later Palesa Tyobeka, the unit is working with provinces to support the 18 underperforming districts in the Eastern Cape, Limpopo and Mpumalanga, it is also monitoring implementation of District Improvement and School Improvement Plans,"she said.

The minister added that to further improve district support to schools, in March 2012 the department published for comment a Policy on the Organisation, Roles and Responsibilities of Education Districts.

One of major projects initiated by the department included the alignment of Provincial Annual Performance Plans to the Action Plan, and Motshekga said the department was hard at work to restore stability and service delivery in provinces under Section 100 (1)(b) of the Constitution.
The provinces are Limpopo and the Eastern Cape.