With AI and automation expected to impact South Africa within the coming years, government and business have actively encouraged young South Africans to become more involved in the IT sector.
However, South African schools still face a number of structural problems which mean that many do not have access to computers or the internet – placing learners at a distinct disadvantage when compared to their peers.
This was highlighted in a recent parliamentary Q&A session where the department of education outlined the number of primary and high schools which do not have a computer lab or internet connection.
The data – which is based on statistics from the National Education Infrastructure Management System (NEIMS) as at March 2018 – found that schools in the Eastern Cape, KZN, and Limpopo were the worst affected.
According to the department, an estimated amount of R16 billion is required to provide computer labs with connectivity.
It added that the cost of physical infrastructure to erect a building/space for a lab needs to be surveyed by a quantity surveyor at each site.
The cost of infrastructure for connectivity also requires an individual assessment for fibre, wireless, satellite or others depending on location and other factors.
“However, it should also be noted that due to technological advancements, it is no longer necessary to provide a computer laboratory to all schools. Further, the provision of mobile computer facilities has reduced the need for these,” it said.