The Northern Cape Department of Education is ’well on track to modernise our education system’.
AN ADDITIONAL R12 million was budgeted this year to further customise, automate and integrate the Online Application System with the Department of Home Affairs database and departmental Geographical Information System (GIS), in order to make the learner admissions process in the Northern Cape more user friendly.
This is according to Northern Cape MEC for Education Zolile Monakali, during the tabling of his 2022/23 budget speech.
Monakali said the Online Application System for school admissions, which was introduced in 2019, has been a huge success.
“We are very proud of the progress we have made with regards to our Online Application System. We introduced this system for the first time in 2019 and it has proven to be immensely successful. The system is advancing very well and has proven to be robust and stable. Parents and legal guardians can now apply for school space from the comfort of their homes or visit their nearest walk-in centre to complete their application,” Monakali said.
The MEC added that they have received thousands of applications for the 2023 academic year.
“The online system officially closed yesterday, for the admission of the 2023 school academic year. A total of 41,853 applications were received by June 20, 2022. The Frances Baard District recorded the highest number of applications with a total of 18,578 applications, followed by the John Taolo Gaetsewe District with a total of 11,601 applications. There were 5,347 applications in the ZF Mgcawu District, 4,032 applications in the Pixley ka Seme District and 2,295 applications in the Namakwa District.
“Districts will verify uploaded documents from June 21, 2022 to July 29, 2022 and the first round of placement and follow-up progress SMSes will be sent to parents by August 19, 2022.”
Monakali said further that the utilisation of technology at schools as means of teaching and learning has also been fruitful.
“The department is well on track to modernise our education system – in schools and administratively. The global pandemic has exposed our shortcomings and weaknesses within the system, hence our concerted efforts to incorporate ICT in everything we do.
“The department has officially opened 10 Cyberlabs in the Province, which are located at identified high schools in all five districts. This is a first of its kind and we are utilising state-of-the-art technology in our schools.
“We have set ourselves the patient target of creating ‘smart classrooms’ over a period of time and it appears that this vision is gaining momentum and buy-in from the private sector. We thank the generosity of all our stakeholders and partners in the private sector. This is what we mean when we say education is a societal matter.
“In partnership with the John Taolo Gaetsewe Development Trust, 1,200 tablets with data were issued to Grade 12 learners at 12 participating schools in the John Taolo Gaetsewe District, in order to access the Pocket School Platform. This platform integrates real-time video lessons with an online learner management system support and provides guidance to learners struggling with subject content.
“Through our partnership with MTN, we handed over 200 tablets to Grade 12 learners of Gariep High School and Petrusville High School. The provision and utilisation of this resource provides an invaluable platform for educators to strengthen content knowledge and classroom pedagogy and, ultimately, stimulate and enhance learners grasp of especially abstract and problematic content.
“The tablets come preloaded with a complete content repository of Grade 12 high-value content and study guides. In addition, video lessons and animations have been loaded to simplify the learning experience. In addition to this, in partnership with Vodacom, we have opened a virtual classroom at Steynville High School, where educators and learners can connect virtually for online lessons and access study material.
“The department has procured and distributed an additional 248 laptops to mathematics, physical science and maths literacy teachers and provided them with the existing off-line content in use in the Province.”