| 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
The didactic model of the majority of school in disadvantaged communities changed instantly. Teachers are no longer standing in front of a chalkboard explaining concepts to learners. Interactive whiteboards were installed in all the classrooms together with surround sound and the teachers used e-pens instead of chalk. Teachers create their own multimedia lessons that involve all modern aspects of video, music, skype lessons and discussions, social networking with peer-teachers and with their learners, creating blogs or designing their own websites. Teachers use a range of support material that enhance their teaching and they integrate these resources into their lesson plans. Lessons are now captivating and learners learn by self-discovery.
Teachers are now facilitators and researchers. Instead of overloading learners with information, they use the Constructivist’ approach to learning. This means that students learn before a subject is covered in class. Learners investigate problem situations and develop solutions that are presented to the peers. They become skilled in the use of multimedia presentation skills like the application of PowerPoint, Skype, video stories, social media and so on.
As researchers, teachers source their digital support material which is in line with the CAPS curriculum and which enhances what the curriculum demands.
| 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
Given the complexities of the project, the implementation required the Gauteng Department of Education to establish different structures at Head Office, Districts together and School levels. The first-tier administrative structure was the establishment of the ICT Steering Committee at Head Office which comprised of senior representatives from different branches, directorates and districts. The ICT Steering Committee is chaired by the MEC and meets every week to take stock on the progress and address challenges encountered during the implementation process. This is essential to any organisation to be able to deliver on the project of this magnitude. During implementation, consistent assurance by the executive is always provided to allay fear to teachers who had a phobia for technology or area reluctant to embrace new pedagogy. The involvement of selected principals of different schools as part of the Task Team also help to ensure that they were empowered on all matters related to the project and enabled the principals to communicate from an informed position.
On the other hand, the establishment of the District ICT Task Team is strategically important in providing direct support to schools. The last-tier administrative structure was at school level. This structure; known as School ICT Governance structure is established to reflect on the day to day ICT challenges that had a potential to impact negatively on teaching and learning, and they were mandated to come up with immediate solutions. It can be argued that the establishment of these structures assisted to strengthen communication among the schools, districts and the Head Office which allowed for a seamless, timeous and speedy resolution of technical challenges that teachers experienced in their schools. Further, these structures will ensure that the work in relation to the project is well coordinated, data is gathered, reports are consolidated, and decisions are tracked and implemented and interfaced with relevant key stakeholders to ensure the buy-into the project.
Owing to anticipated resource constraints, the GDE has adopted a phased-in rollout approach as well as private/public sector collaborations and/or partnerships. A pilot group of schools, also referred to, as the 5+2 schools was identified to test the validity of the concept as well as the processes that should be adopted for this project to succeed. The pilot study is made up of an assorted group of schools in that not only is the make-up of these schools diverse in the level(s) of education i.e. 5 High schools and 2 Primary schools, they are also diverse in the school populous make-up as well as stages of ICT usage, ICT familiarity and access to ICT. Schools such as Sunward Park High who have the benefit of a head start with the introduction of ICT much done earlier than 2014 compared to the rest of the pilot group was included to shed light. The project is now expanded to include the 375 no fees schools Grade 12 and 11.
The following people benefitted from the projects:
• 61 920 learners received tablets in 2015 and 86 016 in 2016.
• All learners who received tablets were further trained on how to use the tablets.
• The number of laptops that were distributed to teachers in 2015 were 6 925 and 7 645 in 2016.
• 11500 teachers received ICT training in 2015 and close 15000 in 2016.
• District officials, principals, HOD and parents also receive ICT training.
| 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
The implementation of the ICT in Education started with the development of GDE ICT and e-Learning strategy in 2014 when the new MEC for Education in Gauteng Province, Panyaza Lesufi. To implement the strategy, the GDE took numerous steps to initiate the implementation of the strategy. The GDE identified pre-requisites across 10 areas that are necessary for creating a foundation for successful implementation and sustainable operation. These activities were completed in advance before going to market to procure services and rolling out the strategy to advance detailed planning, stakeholder alignment, identification of funds, and establishment of the delivery platform. The 10 thematic areas are:
■ Secure approval of and sign-off for GDE ICT strategy and the required budget.
■ Achieve GDE ICT strategy compliance with SA legal framework.
■ Develop communications strategy for various stakeholders.
■ Develop standards and specifications for ICT enablers.
■ Establish a Delivery Unit.
■ Establish project governance structure.
■ Develop criteria for selecting schools for rollout.
■ Create a school rollout plan.
■ Design a simulation centre.
Key work streams considered for the implementation of the solution were established and comprised of the following:
• Technical Hardware for classroom workstream
• Technical support centres for learners and educators workstream
• Refurbishment work stream
• Security work stream
• Connectivity work stream
• E- Content work stream
• Training and Support work stream
• Stakeholders Management Work-stream
The coordination of the different workstreams was done through the establishment of the dedicated Operation Centre Team headed by the Project Manager with expertise in ICT. In addition, the District ICT Task Team and School ICT Governance structure was established with clearly defined roles and responsibilities. The other structure include the Harry Gwala Centres tasked with responsibilities to provide first line support and logging of service calls.
The Table below constitutes the five-year rollout plan:
Phase Activity Timeline
Phase 1 Launch of the Pilot (5+2 Schools) January 2015
Phase 2 Grade 12 classrooms in no-fee paying schools July 2015
Phase 3 Grade 11 classrooms in no-fee paying schools 2016/17 Financial Year
Phase 4 Consolidation of Grade 12 and 11 2017/18 Financial Year
Phase 5 Consolidation of Grade 12 and 11 2018/19 Financial Year
Funding of the project
The project was funded from the budget allocated to the department and sponsors mainly private companies. As the project was introduced during the middle of the financial year, reallocation was done to fund the project. Before summarised some of the cost related to the project implementation which was mobilised.
High level activities and budget implications
Distribution of learners devices Indicators/Measures Baseline 2015/16
Grade 12 Grade 11
Distribution of tablets to learners.
Number of tablets distributed to learners
R 284 832 000
R 395 673 600
Distribution of teacher laptops Number of laptops distributed to teachers
R 47 782 500
R 52 750 500
Installation of classroom devices Number of classroom installed with devices
Budget R246 855 000
R 364 140 000
Refurbishment of classrooms Number of classrooms refurbished
2 351 3 468
R211 590 000
R 312 120 000
Provision of network solution to schools to ensure connectivity Number of micro servers installed
Micro Servers Budget
R47 020 000
R 69 360 000
Capacity Development 6 ICT subjects’ specialists deployed to TDCs located in each of the 15 districts for 3 years. Development of e-resources and implementation of the Learning Journey per stakeholder.
R64 000 000
R72 000 000
e-Content e-Books and Multimedia e-Content: Provisioning, Development, & Enhancement for GDE Cloud & Ownership R200 000.000.00 R226,131,690.00
| 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
The vision of modernizing education in Gauteng Province was conceived immediately when the African National Congress (ANC) ruling party assumed power after winning the fifth general election in the province in 2014. During the State of the Province Address on 27th June 2014 and again during the opening address by Gauteng Premier David Makhura at the Gauteng Senior Management Service Conference on 13 August 2014 in Birchwood, Ekurhuleni, he tabled a policy proposal to decisively move Gauteng forward in line with the National Development Plan and the governing party’s 2014 Manifesto which include a ten-pillar radical programme of radical transformation, modernisation and re-industrialisation (TMR) of Gauteng for deliberation and actioning by various departments, municipalities and provincial entities. The TMR includes the modernisation of public education and improvement of standards of performance of the whole system. Against these visions, the Department of Basic Education (DBE) and the Gauteng Department of Education (GDE) developed strategies for effective modern education systems which were benchmarked internationally; namely: the DBE e-Education Guidelines; the GDE’s 10 pillars for education transformation; and the GDE ICT and e-Education strategy.
In 2014/15 financial year immediately after assuming the office, the newly appointed MEC tabled the Gauteng Department of Education Five Year Strategic Plan to the Provincial Executive for approval in which the ICT in Education is pillar 6. Following the approval of the plan, the MEC immediately introduced the GDE ICT and e-Education strategy to the Executive Committee which was supported and adopted for implementation in 2015.
The stakeholders involved in the project include amongst others:
Stakeholder Group Key stakeholders Responsibility
Relevant District Directors
Principals Ensure that the project is implemented successfully
DID DID Refurbishment of classroom
DoF DoF Provide guidelines on payment process related to the project
SITA SITA Provide support on IT roll out
Service Providers Cloudseed
Assist with connectivity at schools
The stakeholders that were mobilised to ensure the success of the project include members of community who resided within the proximity of piloted schools, local police station, media, politicians, government officials from different spheres, private sectors, Non-Governmental Organisations, Community Based Organisations, Faith Based Organisations, Unions, school governing bodies s, principals, teachers, learners representative council etc.
| 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
In line with the GDE ICT and e-Learning Strategic pillars, the following could be described as successful outputs of the roll out of the ICT project:
• The Department managed to provide the beneficiary groups with the required skills, knowledge and competencies to integrate technology in the curriculum implementation; and administrative and communication processes in a sustainable manner. These include capacitation of parents, SGBs, learners and teachers from beneficiary primary and secondary schools with ICT knowledge and skills. These skills and knowledge are used to support learners in the use of technology by conducting training workshops.
• Most of these schools have benefitted as the classroom were refurbished to be in line with modern education and technological changes. For example, the chalkboards were replaced with White Interactive Boards, LEDs while old desks in some classrooms were also replaced with new chairs and tables.
• The training and development also included the deployment of technicians to beneficiary schools to provide on-site support to Grade 7 -12 educators on the integration of technology, didactic pedagogy, and content knowledge in the classroom. The Department also managed to equip subject advisors in all districts with knowledge and skills to use technology to enhance learning and teaching; by training them to operate devices, plan lessons, access online resources, use devices responsibly, and in classroom administration. Lastly, school-based ICT committees of six members each were trained to support the integration of technology in the beneficiary schools. The capacitation was also extended to the district ICT committees to support the integration of ICT in schools.
• To safeguard the investment made to the piloted schools, the Department improved the security features of each of these schools. These include the installation of security doors and cameras around each school.
• With regard to connectivity, the Department managed to equip each class with the necessary electronic equipment including sufficient plugs to charge the gadgets, workstations, servers, projectors, interactive whiteboards, charging trollies to recharge the learners’ tablets etc.
• The digital educational content that is appropriate to meet the educational need of both learners and educators were made available to schools. The digital educational content provided to schools covered various learning areas such as Mathematics, Social and Natural Sciences as well as African languages. In addition, teachers were capacitated to access additional available resources that were available online free of charge and not to rely only on downloaded lesson plans provided for them by the Department.
| 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
• The project was implemented toward the festive season which has pros and cons. The concern that was encountered related to procurements of equipments as most companies were closing for the festive season and these were rectify during the following season.
• The ICT project was not delivered within defined timeline and budgeted cost. The project charter was developed clarifying the purpose, mandates, roles and responsibilities of the project team.
• During the implementation of the project, it was observed that tight deadlines and dates defined by members of the work stream to reach certain milestones were not realistic. Most leaders of different work streams did not adhere to the project plan because the dates of deliverables kept on changing. The MEC has to ensure that the project plans are sing-off and monitored regularly.
• The challenge with regard to flow of information from the Task Team to the districts and schools emerged as there was inconsistency in their reports. To narrow the gap, it was suggested that school principals should form part of the Technical Task Team.
• The roll out of infrastructure is meaningless if there is no buy-in from the intended beneficiaries such as learners, educators, school governing bodies and leadership especially the principal. Imbizos (large meeting gathering) were held to ensure buy-in.
• Any ICT project has elements of change management and personnel often experience fear and uncertainty about what the future holds for them. During implementation, consistent assurance by the executive assisted in allaying fear and enabled teachers who had a phobia for technology to embrace the project. The involvement of principals of different schools as part of the Task Team helped to ensure that they were empowered on all matters related to the project and enabled the principals to communicate from an informed position. The change management was also introduced.