60 000 township schoolchildren benefit from ICT programme


In his State of the Province Address, Gauteng Premier David Makhura emphasised the pivotal role that education plays in preparing young people for post-school opportunities by providing key knowledge, competencies and skills.

Makhura said the Gauteng MEC for Education, Panyaza Lesufi introduced an online admission system to ensure equity, eliminate queues at schools and provide accurate and timely information. This will enable planning for the transformation, modernisation and re-industrialisation of Gauteng.

“Nineteen thousand new applications were received through the 62 walk-in centres that the department set up in January. The department worked hard and, within two weeks, it had placed a substantial number of both learners who applied online and those who applied for the first time in January,” said Makhura.

He said the department was pleased to announce that the number of unplaced students had been reduced to zero.

According to Makhura further work would commence with the Department of e-Government to further refine and improve online applications. He urged parents to take the opportunity and apply early.

Initial estimates indicate that the province requires 200 additional schools to deal with the historical backlog and meet new demand. Since 2014, 43 new schools have been built, including the new ICT-enabled classrooms in existing schools. This year, the department will officially open 13 new brick and mortar schools and also build schools with the aid of Alternative Construction Technology (ACT) to alleviate admission pressure.

The call to open a school every month is almost being met, with the Nomzamo Madikizela Mandela Primary School in Braamfischerville in Soweto being opened in January; and with plans to officially open the Soshanguve East Secondary School on 5 March.

The provincial pass rate has increased from 84.2 per cent in 2015 to 85.1 per cent last year. Most importantly, Gauteng contributed a remarkable 23 per cent of all Bachelor passes in the country and 22 per cent of all distinctions.

The Secondary School Intervention Programme, (SSIP) focuses on putting the schoolchildren in camps during the holidays and the programme has engaged with universities to have access to their hostels. The campers will be trained in leadership skills, study skills and time management and are given motivational talks. The first camp is in the process and the aim is to accommodate 800 high-risk youngsters during the coming Easter holidays.

Makhura said the rollout of ICT to schools is well on track and he positions ICT as a game changer in education transformation. More than 60 000 schoolchildren in 377 township schools are benefitting from the ICT programme.

Do you have any suggestions to improve education in Gauteng. WhatsApp on 079 439 5345.

Jessica Knibbs

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