Roll out of laptops to all teachers in the public schools from the period 2017 until 2019 has been systematical done in the following manner with the connectivity and content in the following form:
Loaded with lesson plans
Microsoft Software Packages
In doing this we appreciated the need for us as the department to respond to the national call by the president to include E-Learning facilities in our schools so that as we prepare our learners to be able to respond adequately to the needs and demands of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Our roll-out have been done in the following three phases:
o Foundation Phase Educators (Grades R � 3)
o Administration � SASAMS Operationalization
o Intermediate and Senior Phase (Grade 4 � 9)
o FET Phase (Grades 10 - 120
Do we have a contract with Vodacom?
ECDoE is participating in the National Treasury RT15 Contract. The contract was initiated by National Treasury with its own regulatory framework and it was issued publicly; and government state organs were invited to participate. As the Province of the Eastern Cape, we adhered to the stipulated framework. This contract is for a period of 5 years and its terms of existence in our province are within manageable rules. We are looking very closely to its deliverables and if there is a need for a review we will do that in a manner that will not create hostility in the ICT sector, and also not compromise the standing of the department in the face of public scrutiny.
Are we purchasing Laptops to a particular company which sources them in China?
As the department we wish to put it categorically clear that thus far all the laptops that we have distribute to all teachers in our public schools under the teacher laptop initiative (TLI) have been acquired from Vodacom as part of the RT15 Contract. As the department we are aware of the economic challenges that are facing our province and we also understand the PPFM policy which fundamentally compels us to procure locally so to support SMMEs, Incubator programs and create jobs for our youth.
As the department we operate within the Treasury regulations and if we decides to go out on tender, we will do so guided by our own procurement process and in that the following process, as prescribed by the National Treasury SCM prescripts are always followed:
o A submission for approval
o A specification is prepared for approval. The specification is aligned to ECDoE ICT minimum standards and brand agnostic
o Spec published on public platforms, vis. ECDoE Website, Tender Bulletin
o Adjudication and awarding of contracts
Do we have an obligation to procure locally?
Yes we do. As per the President's and EC Premier's pronouncement government has a responsibility to grow local economy and support local businesses and SMME's. This will in turn create jobs and reduce unemployment in the Province.
What is next in rolling out ICT for Education in the Province?
ICT Is currently rolled out in the department and the schools at the centre of that as the core business of the education system.
In aligning the Education Sector Strategy which we developed in 2016 and the 4IR imperatives, ECDoE is finalizing its own (e-Education) strategy with a specific focus on the technology enablers that will support the following:
Enhancing Teaching and Learning we focused on Teacher solution (ECDoE leading Nationally), Learner Solution (Tablets, content, connectivity, etc) and Classroom Solution. Currently the provision of the ICT support to our schools has resulted in improving : School Administration, Safety and Security, Monitoring and analytics, Innovation and Knowledge Management.
The strategy will be finalized and once the strategy is finalized funding for such function will be identified. We are giving this clarity after we have learnt from a media enquiry that we are purchasing laptops at a tune of R900million from one particular company which it is claimed that it procures them from China. As the Department we wish to put is categorically clear that upon our internal investigation, such claims were found to be untrue.
As the department we are committed in giving support to our local economy and we are obligated to do so within the ambit of South African law. We refuse to be drawn to any arm-twisting tactics or being made scapegoats by business entities that are facing financial challenges. The laptop company that is mentioned in the email has no locus standi to forcefully compel us to provide financial rescue, even as we are acknowledged our obligation to support local products.
As the department we will continue providing e-Learning support to our schools and we will continue respecting the government prescript that binds us all.
Source: Eastern Cape Department of Education