Students help themselves to 7,000 government tablets

As many as 7,000 tablets, worth R3,500 each, have not been returned by Gauteng based learners who completed matric in the province last year.

This is according to the DA following a written reply to a question posed by the political party on school safety measures to Gauteng Education MEC, Panyaza Lesufi.

The tablets are part of a controversial paperless classroom initiative – implemented by the Gauteng Provincial Government.

The DA reported that 17 smart boards, also crucial to the roll out of the government’s e-Learning initiative, have also been reported stolen so far.

Having launched in January 2015, the e-learning project was halted just four months later, in May, following a number of thefts and school robberies, which saw more than 3,000 tablets stolen.

The Gauteng Education Department then rebooted the R17 billion digital project two months later, in July, having claimed to have ‘beefed up’ security measures including the installation of  tracking devices in the tablets.

The education department said that of approximately 6,200 tablets that were originally fitted with tracking devices deployed to the seven schools in Tembisa, east of Johannesburg, 11 tablets were stolen/lost and five were subsequently recovered.

Earlier this month, the Citizen reported that the education department distributed 64,000 tablets to pupils in 2015 – of which it recovered 81%, meaning that approximately 12,000 tablets are missing.

Over R1 million in damages to school facilities and equipment was recorded due to break-ins over the 2015/16 December school holidays at 23 schools in Gauteng.

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Students help themselves to 7,000 government tablets