Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga says the department is ready to phase in digitised textbooks from next year.
The Minister on Wednesday, 13 February 2019, participated in a debate on the State of the Nation Address (SONA) in the National Assembly in Cape Town.
President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a week earlier during SONA that over the next six years, government will provide every school child in South Africa with digital workbooks and textbooks on a tablet device.
The President said 90% of textbooks in high enrolment subjects across all grades and all workbooks have already been digitised.
“We are excited about the Presidential Commission on the 4th Industrial Revolution that the President will establish, as we believe we are on the cusp of a digital revolution.
“A comprehensive ICT plan has already been developed to provide a framework for an affordable and sustainable implementation of ICTs in education, which include digital content resource development (digitisation); ICT professional development for management; teaching and learning; as well as ICT infrastructure and schools connectivity,” Motshekga said.
She said the department is encouraged by government’s commitment to work with them on these plans.
“As the President indicated during his SONA, in 2019 we will prepare the system for phasing in the rollout of the programme beginning with Quintile 1-3 schools located in rural communities and farms, especially multi-grade and multiphase schools, and special schools will be prioritised for the deployment of ICT infrastructure and resources.”
Early Childhood Development
Motshekga said rolling out a quality Early Childhood Development (ECD) programme, as envisaged in the National Development Plan, is a priority for the country, with the intention of improving the quality of education and the long-term prospects of future generations and society as a whole.
She said in pursuance of the directive, the department has established a firm foundation for a comprehensive ECD programme as an integral part of the education system.
“We wish to confirm that work has already begun to ensure a seamless and smooth phased migration of ECD and the declaration of a compulsory Grade R programme, with effect from the 2019/20 financial year.
“...There are 8.2 million children aged 0-6 years in South Africa, 2.4 million of whom are currently attending ECD centres and 700,000 are benefiting from publicly subsidised care. The expansion of ECD provisioning demands that we reach out to the 5.8 million children who may not be attending any ECD centre,” the Minister said.