Things are changing fast for education in South Africa. Faster than most people might realise. The powers that be are slowly aligning themselves around a national strategy for using computers and tablets in government schools in a way that could revolutionise education in the country within a few years.
Out in front is Gauteng MEC for education Panyaza Lesufi, who has a wonderful habit of making policy decisions in public and then forcing the rest of the department to catch up. I’ve only met the MEC a couple of times so can’t really judge, but one industry insider confirmed that he took the industry by surprise when he announced plans to give every child in the province a tablet within two years, but said that if anyone can deliver that mammoth goal in a short space of time, it would be Lesufi.
Lesufi has committed the Gauteng department of education to a goal of equipping every high school learner in the province with a tablet computer within the next two years, and speaks of the plan becoming national strategy shortly after.
But what will be on those tablets? Who will make sure they’re used in pedagogically sound ways? Who’s going to train the teachers and encourage them to innovate beyond putting “books behind glass”?
Our money is on one, or more, of these five companies – all locally grown and all already amassing vital experience in the field. And none of whom – the odds are – you’ll have ever heard of. Yet your kids’ lives could be in their virtual hands.
Who are they? Read on to find out.