The Western Cape Government has embarked upon the provisioning of a connectivity broadband network service (WAN) which includes all public schools in a 10 Year Project with a phased approach.
The envisaged educational value which the WCED broadband brings to schools, and the Local Area Network (LAN) project that follows, needs to be gained immediately. For this to happen, access to functional technology and infrastructure is essential.
The WCED seeks to provide such functional teaching and learning environments through an ICT lab refresh programme i.e. its “Slim Lab.” programme. Refreshing traditional ICT suites/labs are considered prohibitively expensive and inhibits a wide-scale and immediate implementation. Alternative proposals are envisaged towards en-masse roll-out.
The WCED e-Vision seeks to provide teachers and learners with ICT resources that enhance teaching and learning which include the following:
1. Teachers and education managers who are empowered to use technology effectively and innovatively,
2. Learners who are empowered to use technology effectively and innovatively,
3. Models, methodologies, pedagogies and digital content that are readily available and that are responsive to the education needs of our learners,
4. Robust and reliable ICT systems that support e-Education,
5. Technology-enriched environment that enable effective learner-centred e-Learning, and
6. Robust and reliable ICT systems that will reduce the administrative burden that is often associated with planning and management.
In order to utilise and maximise opportunity that the broadband (WAN) would bring, end-user devices are essential. The intent is to provide an enabling environment to schools in a phased approach over the next two to three years. The WCED will develop procurement plans that will allow the WCED to:
1. Phase in the end-user technologies for Western Cape schools;
2. Prioritise schools in quintiles 1-4 and special needs schools;
3. Leveraging LTSM and equipment funding;
4. Benefitting from new technologies as they develop year to year.
This is a very exciting initiative that has taken years of planning and has the potential to make a major contribution towards improving the quality of teaching and learning in the province
The strategy includes a number of components that are critical for e-learning in schools, namely:
The linking of schools through a high-speed, real-time wide area network (WAN);
The provision of local area networks (LANs) in schools;
The refreshing of existing computer laboratories and the provision of new laboratories and technology-rich classrooms (smart classrooms);
The development and expansion of online digital resources that are made available to all pupils, parents and teachers;