The Gauteng online schools project has been put under strategic review in order to incorporate a comprehensive e-Learning aspect which was not part of the existing scope, said Gauteng MEC for Finance, Mandla Nkomfe.
In a statement issued on Tuesday (19 March) Nkomfe said the review would also enable the project to merge with the Gauteng Broadband Network once it has been built.
“In this context, we have taken a decision to cancel the tender for the provision of e-learning under the auspices of the Gauteng On line Programme. In the interests of learning and to ensure the smooth transitioning, interim measures will be put in place.
“This review is a result of the Gauteng Provincial Government revised objectives on the programme to ensure that learners and teachers both maximally benefit from the project. The department has been involved in thorough engagements with all stakeholders concerned, the Gauteng Department of Education, Schools and Governing Bodies on how best to roll out this initiative, taking into account the previous challenges that have been encountered,” Nkomfe said.
It is through these engagements that it was realized that the project needed to be redesigned.
According to Nkomfe, the parties agreed on the following aspects to be entrenched in the programme: that it provides a ‘fit-for-purpose’ ICT capability, which would support teaching, e-learning, to further afford learners an opportunity to use ICTs for their everyday learning activities (i.e. netbooks).
“We also note that e-learning is becoming a fundamental aspect in the entire education system and employment life; therefore it should supply skilled learners for further study and employment opportunities, which will improve South African culture, citizenry, democracy and economic growth,” the finance MEC said.
He further noted that the Gauteng Provincial Government is in the process of building a broadband network to handle all Gauteng bandwidth whilst providing affordable rates for citizens.
“This is part of the Gauteng ICT Strategy to make Gauteng a ‘Smart Province and a connected Global City Region’. This network will deliver services such as video, voice, and date to Government entities, public schools and hospitals.
“Therefore there will be gradual migration from the GoL’s network solution to the Gauteng Broadband Network (GBN). After migration, the GoL programme will become an integral component of the GBN and will provide internet and allied services to Gauteng residents living within the vicinity of the schools,” the MEC said.