The Gauteng Provincial Government’s (GPG) Department of Education has revealed its e-learning solution, which includes free tablets for schools in the province, will cost ZAR2.2 billion (US$215.072 million).
The cost for the solution, which the provincial government said rendered Gauteng Online’s (GoL) delivery method obsolete, includes the cost of the tablets at ZAR289 million (US$28.2 million), the network lease costs of ZAR107.2 million (US$10.4 million) and the total capital costs over two years of ZAR396.2 million (US$38.7 million).
“More than 1.4 million learners in public schools in the province now have access to the cutting age technology of the internet delivered through the Gauteng Online infrastructure. This consolidates the project’s status as the largest cloud computing initiative in the African continent and one of the biggest e-learning programmes in the world,” said the GPG in a statement.
“The project is one of the provincial government’s key ICT initiatives aimed at transforming Gauteng into a smart province. It was initiated not only to provide computer literacy to learners, but to support the delivery of quality education by creating a sustainable e-learning environment in the classrooms of public schools so as to bridge the digital divide.”
According to the GPG, GoL is currently operating within 1,562 Gauteng schools and the number of school learners with email addresses usernames and passwords has reached 800,000 with more than 40,000 educators linked to the network.
However, given technological advances and the inclusion of curricula into ICT, the GPG said GoL’s delivery method, which encompasses a physical computer laboratory, is obsolete because the preferred method for disseminating information and curriculum content is via tablets.
GoL has since undergone a “strategic review”, which has resulted in its name being changed to “e-Learning Solution”.
The structure of the new e-Learning Solution will see Huawei Technologies providing 88,000 the tablets, of which 44 will be delivered to each school, but will remain the property of the GPG.
CloudSeed was given a two year contract to provide the core network, which includes Wi-Fi and third generation (3G) internet connectivity to all 2,200 public costs after which the service will be provided by the Gauteng Broadband Network.