Covid-19 has forced people to relook their way of work. Offices have gone virtual and online learning has become a prerequisite.
During a hard lockdown, those with no access to online resources were unable to study, thus placing them on the back foot of education.
Now, the Department of Basic Education is making strides to modernise schools.
Cosmo Primary School has become the first school in the Kwa-Zulu Natal province to implement paperless classrooms.
Launching the 1st KZN paperless Classroom School – Cosmo Primary in Howick under Umgungundlovu District with MEC for Education, Mr @MshenguKwazi. The sector works hard to ensure that regardless of background, learners receive quality basic education right where they reside https://t.co/m3dY7dXzUG pic.twitter.com/wBga9u6lki
— Dr Makgabo Reginah Mhaule (@ReginahMhaule) June 3, 2021
On 3 June 2021, KZN education MEC Mshengu Kwazi with Basic Education Deputy Minister Reginah Mhaule opened the school.
According to the department, it’s important that “learners receive quality basic education right where they reside.”
Online learning should not be a luxury, as Covid-19 has deemed it essential for children to have access to digital platforms.
According to the KZN administration, the key features of the paperless classroom include:
- Access to digital platforms and cloud-based learning aids and applications.
- Access to internet services.
- Interactive smart whiteboards instead of chalkboards.
- Media/computer centre.
- Smart classrooms for virtual learning.
- Digital libraries.
- Science laboratories.
- All teachers resourced with laptops.
- ICT training for all educators.
Miss Zuma is a Grade 5 teacher at Cosmo Primary School and was also a pupil there until Grade 7. She is grateful for this teaching transition and adds that “the resources we have received will help us facilitate the new learning and teaching processes”.
Learners have also been given devices to access the internet, but are not allowed to leave the school premises. “We don’t want the learners to take them home,” Kwazi says.
Security risk in paperless schools
SA’s e-learning initiatives have been delayed by theft, in which smartboards and devices are constantly stolen. In Gauteng, education MEC Panyaza Lesufi urged Minister Angie Motshekga to tighten security in schools four years ago when tablets were introduced to schools.
The security of digital resources in schools should be the responsibility of the entire community. The resources are supplied for the benefit of the learners and theft delays learning.
Kwazi says: “We will continue to mobilise communities, working with different community organs to ensure all schools are protected by the communities themselves.”