Minister Grant to attend handover of ICT equipment to Pniel Primary School

Speech by Minister Donald Grant

Western Cape Education Minister

Background:

The school has received ICT infrastructure to the value of R134 000 from Mediclinic South Africa and Structure Connectivity Solutions. The infrastructure includes cabling, network cabinets, laptops for each classroom and network switches. The school now has in place a fully integrated network, with network connectivity in every classroom.

The project is in line with the WCED’s vision to shift from traditional methods of teaching and learning to e-Teaching, e-Learning and virtual learning environments where digital resources and systems are more readily available to schools and the engagement between educators and learners is more enhanced than before.

Good Afternoon

I am passionate about improving and promoting the use of ICT infrastructure in our schools and I am therefore delighted to be here today at this handover ceremony with people who share my enthusiasm for ICT and education.

The handover of ICT equipment from Mediclinic South Africa and Structure Connectivity Solutions will help assist the educators of Pniel PS in the delivery of the curriculum to their learners.

John Dewey, an American philosopher and educational reformer, once said that “If we teach today as we taught yesterday, we rob our children of tomorrow”.

In a world where information and communications technology (or ICT) has made it possible for more people to access, generate and share ideas and in a world where ICT is playing a greater role in the way that we do business than before, we urgently need to consider how our basic education system can maximise these new possibilities.

I must reiterate however that our teachers are traditionally and importantly the primary facilitators of learning.

Dit is nie anders nie in ‘n wêreld waar ons is besig om groter vertroue te plaas op stelsels en tegnologie om die ontwikkeling van ons onderwys stelsel en die opvoeding van ons kinders te ondersteun. Sonder die ondersteuning van ons onderwysers sal die bekendstelling van nuwe stelsels en nuwe tegnologie in ons skole min kans ver sukses hê.

In today’s advancing technological environment, however, we need to work smarter and better to ensure that our educators have the tools to provide our learners with a good quality education.

That is why today’s handover is so exciting. By integrating ICT into the classroom environment, we are working smarter and better – equipping our teachers and advancing the ICT skills of our learners at the same time.

However, we still face many challenges which include expanding access to quality ICT teaching and learning resources to all schools in the province, particularly those serving our poorer communities.

We therefore recognise that if we are to progress as an education system we need to decide not if but how we will use ICT in its various forms to support and improve the provision of a quality education at all our schools.

The Western Cape Government has therefore taken the lead in prioritising the delivery and roll-out of ICT infrastructure to strengthen and support quality teaching and learning in our schools.

We are currently supporting e-Education through a number of channels including:

  1. The provisioning of technology to new schools and the upgrading or advancement of technology in existing schools;
  2. Researching and evaluating the use of e-Education methodologies and cutting-edge technologies;
  3. Training in ICT for educators;
  4. The sourcing, procurement and provisioning of digital resources through multiple access points; and
  5. On-going support of e-Education at schools.

As part of efforts to integrate ICT into our schools, we plan to provide schools with appropriate new technologies in innovative and appropriate configurations and architectures. This will include Wi-Fi technology in all schools to expand access to the broadband network.

By harnessing the power of technology to deliver a quality curriculum, we could ultimately revolutionize how teaching takes place in this province. Therefore, we will be interested to see how the implementation of ICT infrastructure at Pniel PS will contribute to an improved teaching environment.

This is an exciting and innovative initiative by Mediclinic South Africa and Structure Connectivity Solutions and I thank them for their investment in education.

Investing in education is the best investment one can make in this country and contributions from the private sector and civil society to the improvement of education outcomes are invaluable not only to us as Government, but also to the learners themselves.

Thank you.