By Khume Ramulifho MPL DA Gauteng Shadow MEC: Education:
The Gauteng Education Department has admitted in a written response to DA questions that tablets recalled to have security devices fitted will be redistributed to other schools and not returned to their original recipients.
Of the 88 000 tablets received by Gauteng schools, only 24 293 have been returned to date to have security devices fitted. More than 60 000 remain without security or tracking devices, leaving them at risk of being stolen.
The department has misled schools by not clarifying its redistribution plans up front; this is likely to further discourage the return of tablets for security purposes.
The department’s retrieval plan was scheduled from February to the end of August 2015, but it is clear that if only a quarter of these devices have been returned to date that the recall of the rest will pose a challenge.
I will be following up with Education MEC, Panyaza Lesufi, to establish how this redistribution programme will work, as many schools have received too few tablets for every pupil to benefit.
The use of technology in our schools is a welcome move; however, the administration and management of this system must be done transparently and within the best interests of our learners.