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Ramaphosa: Paperless education will boost SA

Jan 14 2015 10:41
'Paperless' education

Learners at the Boitumelong Secondary School in Tembisa in eastern Johannesburg familiarize themselves with new tablets ahead of the launch of a paperless education system. (Werner Beukes, Sapa)

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Johannesburg - A R17bn project to introduce tablets to government schools in Gauteng will ultimately boost the country's economy, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Wednesday.

"One of the factors constraining economic growth in South Africa is the relative shortage of e-skills," he said at the "big switch on" at Boitumelong secondary School in Tembisa, Johannesburg.

The country has adopted a national e-skills plan, with education as a key part of the plan, he said.

The Smart Schools project is being launched at seven Gauteng township schools.

READ: VIDEO: Your business can join maths movement

The Gauteng education department hopes to roll the project out to all Gauteng township and rural schools by the end of the 2017/2018 financial year at an estimated cost of R17bn.

All high school children would be provided with a tablet computer and Grade seven pupils in primary schools would be trained to use the devices.

"We want you to enter the future knowing that you are the e-learners of the future," Ramaphosa told pupils present at the launch.

"Education provides you the opportunity to overcome any obstacles that stand in your way."

Ramaphosa also quoted late former president Nelson Mandela: "It is through education that the daughter of a peasant can become a doctor, that a son of a mineworker can become the head of the mine, that a child of farm workers can become the president of a great nation," he said.

He urged pupils to embrace the opportunity given to them.

"Ultimately, it is you, the learners, who need to be responsible for your future by taking seriously the opportunities that now exist."

He congratulated the school's pupils for achieving an 80.26% pass rate in 2014.

Having e-skills would make it easier for pupils to bridge the divide between school and the working world, Ramaphosa said.

"Technology, the internet, a multi-skilled workforce, innovation and collaboration are critical to the success of the knowledge economy."

He also thanked the private sector for their contributions to the project.

Earlier, Gauteng premier David Makhura said the launch of smart schools is "a revolution in education" and "a game changing shift".

"Education is the best gift you can ever give to the youth of a country.

"Once given education, you can never take it back," he said.

cyril ramaphosa  |  education  |  sa economy
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