Sexual Rights Campaign; Textbook Distribution; Information Communication & Technology Development in Schools: briefing

Basic Education

08 October 2001
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Meeting report

PORTFOLIOCOMMITTEE ON EDUCATION

EDUCATION PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
9 October 2001
SEXUAL RIGHTS CAMPAIGN; TEXTBOOK DISTRIBUTION; INFORMATION COMMUNICATION AND TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT IN SCHOOLS

Chairperson:
Prof Mayatula (ANC)

Documents issued
Women’s Health Project presentation

SUMMARY
The first presentation was a briefing by the Women’s Health Project (WHP) on its Sexual Right’s Campaign initiative. This was followed by a briefing by Colloborative Education with South Africans (CEWSA), on the progress it was making regarding the distribution of Mathematics, Science and English textbooks to under-resourced educational institutions in South Africa. Lastly, a presentation was a briefing by Desillion Development on its programme to implement Information Communication and Technology based (ICT) programmes into public schools throughout South Africa.

MINUTES
Women’s Health Project (Wits University ) on Sexual Rights Campaign
Ms Msimang explained that the Sexual Rights Campaign dealt with the impact of HIV and AIDS, the issue of violence against women, and the problems relating to teenage pregnancies. She said that the increase in these problems had led to the development of the campaign.

The key messages of the campaign are:
- Encouraging responsibility towards sexual partners – i.e. the use of condoms
- Mutual respect in sexual decision making – i.e. shared decision making
- Speaking publicly in places where issues of change were raised – i.e. in meetings with parliament. She emphasised that it was essential to speak publicly about HIV and AIDS.

She defined sexual rights in terms of the definition given at the Beijing Conference on Women in 1985. The definition included control over sexuality, equality with men, and mutual respect. She explained that the world today lacked the shared responsibility of sexual behaviour, and that this is what had led to the situations that were currently faced. She added that the backdrop of gender inequality was contributing to the inequality regarding sexual relations.

Ms Msimang went on to deal with what this meant in a practical sense. She explained that men and women had the right to control their bodies, and not to be forced to have sexual intercourse, and thus the right to be protected from the risk of disease, for instance. She said that South Africa had gone a long way in providing responsive services, and she gave the example of the recently established one-stop trauma centres for rape victims. These gave rape victims the opportunity to be treated immediately after the event. However, there were not enough of them. She clarified a common misconception by saying that non-physical force such as manipulation or coercion was also included as a form of violence that had to be dealt with.

Ms Msimang said that one of the biggest problems was that of violence against women. As a result of the UN definition of violence against women, our government had embraced the issue as a human rights issue. In terms of the UN definition, any act of gender violence likely to lead to harm, and including threats of violence (in both private and public life), amounted to violence against women. In her opinion, this was an urgent issue.

Ms Msimang showed the results of a study conducted in 1998 amongst women in Johannesburg. The study showed that: -
- 3 out of 10 women were victims to sexual violence.
- 77% of the women said that violence was common.
- 40% of the rape victims were 17 years old and younger.
- An investigation by the South African Police Service indicated that rape cases were underreported. This was in comparison to the high statistics indicating the occurrence of the crime.

She listed some statistics relating to HIV and AIDS: -
- 4.7 million South Africans are infected with the disease
- There are 1700 new infections relating to the disease daily
- There is a 24.5% antenatal prevalence rate (as compared to the 2% rate in 1981)
- 2.5 million women are infected with the disease
- 2.2 million men are infected with the disease
- Over 1000 babies are infected with HIV
She stated that the statistics clearly indicated that more women were infected with the disease than men were, and that this was a real concern for public health.

Ms Msimang said that in Western Cape, the prevalence rate of the disease was 8.7%. This was compared to the figure of 36.2% in Kwa-Zulu Natal, followed by the rate in Gauteng. She added that violence amongst women was directly related to HIV and AIDS. These opinions were made in light of the National Antenatal Survey of 2000. She went on to state the HIV prevalence by age group. The age group between 24 years and 30years was the highest hit. She added that this was the economically viable population, and that unfortunately many of them would not make it. She noted that these results were based on an antenatal survey and that as a result one could not hold this to conclusively represent the entire picture.

Ms Msimang mentioned the activities of the campaign:
- Training of trainers, and running sexual rights workshops in which individuals and groups would be identified, and subsequently given specific actions to promote sexual rights. She gave the example of the situation in Hillbrow where police dockets were frequently lost. The result was that victims would not report rape cases. In order to make a statement asking the police to take on their responsibilities more seriously, a group of women marched to the police station.
- Advocacy to national and provincial politicians and decision-makers. She added that influential people such as this portfolio committee would be needed to make a difference.
- Identification of priority actors to promote sexual rights amongst the police, the justice sector, the health sector and the education sector.
She said that the result was that many workshops were being run all over South Africa, and the final workshop was expected for January 2002. She stated that it was hoped that the interaction in the workshops would lead to a Charter emphasising women’s rights, and that this Charter would eventually be institutionalised.

She concluded her presentation by listing the objectives of the campaign. She said that they were seeking the help of the committee (i.e. displaying posters; wearing the Sexual Rights Campaign T-shirts; distributing information booklets, etc). In addition, she encouraged the committee to speak publicly about the campaign where issues of change would be discussed. In her opinion, this aspect was very important and begged the full support of the committee. Her last request was that the committee promotes the concept of the campaign.

Discussion
Mr Govender (ANC) noted the importance of issues of morality. He mentioned that Ms Msimang had spoken of psychological factors such as coaxing in her presentation. He wanted to know whether prostitution fell within the ambit of sexual rights. He pointed out that manipulation was a tool that could be used by either men or women.

Ms Monareng, also of the Women’s Health Project, said that when teaching about sexual rights, it was emphasized that individuals had to take control and responsibility over their bodies, and their acts. It was in this light that prostitutes (or euphemized as ‘commercial sex workers’) had the right to decide how to live. However, the point that would be emphasized would be that they had to be responsible in their choices so as not to put others in danger.

Mr Govender (ANC) mentioned that there was a proliferation of teenage pregnancies in schools. He asked how effective the HIV campaign was, given the fact it did not have a significant impact on curbing the increase of teenage pregnancies.

Ms Monareng responded that the problem of ABC with teenagers was very important. She said that behaviour change could not be solved on the forefront, and that it was usually upon people and their situations that they tried to make a difference. Thus it would not be possible to tell teenagers what to do expecting the direction to be adhered to because all of them had different backgrounds and situations. She suggested that the route to take might be to explain their rights to them, but she noted that this approach would work only if those teenagers were not the perpetrators.

Ms Msimang said that in terms of the expression, it was necessary to distinguish between sexual intercourse and sexual rights. She said that sexual rights referred to teaching individuals about what they could do with their bodies. In her opinion, teaching about these rights from a very young age would have a greater impact than leaving it till later stages. She emphasized that this meant that teaching about teenage pregnancies in schools would therefore make an impact. She felt that although South Africa had embarked on large campaigns, the problem was that the projects had reached the children at a late stage.

Mr Khompela (ANC) referred to the slide that had shown the age prevalence of HIV in the country. He requested clarification regarding the high rates that had been indicated in the older age groups, that is, 45 years and older.

Ms Msimang explained that regarding the prevalence rate between the ages of 45 and 60 years, she was not sure what the real problem was. However, she suspected that one aspect was that the older generation was not aware about how to look after HIV infected individuals. She said that although this instance did not refer to a high number of the incidences, there were people that were infected through giving aid to HIV patients.

Mr Vadi (ANC) stated that his question was going to sound rather outrageous. However, he felt that it was a necessary question and so he was still going to ask it. He noted that the country had the Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Act. In light of the fact that there were approximately 1 million orphans in South Africa, he suggested that the approach to be taken might be to counsel HIV pregnant women to terminate their pregnancies. He emphasized that the disease would cause neither mother nor child to live for very long, and as a result there would be no one to look after the child. It was his opinion that this option had to be considered because termination was legal in South Africa.

Ms Monareng pointed out that in the training programmes, termination of pregnancies was included in the whole curriculum. However, she explained that the right to terminate pregnancy was a maternal right and that whether a mother was HIV negative of HIV positive, the decision ultimately lay with her. She stated that although women were counselled about abortion, it was not up to the campaign managers to make the decision for the women. She noted that there was debate surrounding the treatment of HIV infected babies, and the fact that not all babies would be born HIV positive. Her final point was that it was not up to them as educators to make the decision.

Mr Van Den Heever (ANC) gave thanks for the presentation. He referred to the various expressions used for the campaign such as ‘sexual rights for all’. He said that this was a positive message, and he did not want his question to be misinterpreted. He explained that the message in ABC, (Abstinence, Be faithful and Condomise), was vital to the success rate of the campaign. This made it necessary to ensure that the right message was transmitted in the expressions used in order to avoid giving people a negative message. It was his opinion that the expression he referred to would imply that one had the right to have sexual intercourse. He added that he liked the term gender based violence, and he referred to the statement made by Mr Govender (ANC) that women could also use their sexuality as a weapon.

Mr Van Den Heever (ANC) asked for clarification regarding the link between HIV and violence against women.

Ms Msimang stated that women that were abused were more vulnerable towards engaging in high-risk behaviour. She gave the example of a woman that was battered, and explained that in such circumstances the women would have little power to demand the use of condoms.

Mr Mbadi (UDM) asked how far the campaign had been taken to the rural areas, and what the response had been in that regard.

Ms Monareng stated that there were no provinces that had not been reached. She referred to Mpumalanga, Kwa-Zulu Natal and Northern Province that were visited over the past month. She added that the trained facilitators were required to train their own communities. She pointed out that the campaign was taking a rights approach, and that this did not mean that they were condoning sexual intercourse. Rather the aim was to provide knowledge about individual rights. She stated that this approach had been successful. In addition, all trained facilitators were expected to conduct further training, and to report back on this.

Mr Mbadi (UDM) had a follow up question. He said that everybody was aware of the poverty in rural areas. As a result, he wanted to know what financial support was given to the facilitators.

Ms Monareng stated that the body would normally identify an already existent group that was already funded. This group would simply continue to spread the message, and they would be given some kind of support. She added that training did not require a lot of finance in order to be carried out, and it would be possible, for example, to only give bread. She emphasized that they were not creating something out of nothing. In cases where there was not already a body that existed, support in terms of materials would be given. She noted that training would normally last for one week.

Prof Mayatula (ANC) asked if it was possible for pamphlets to be sent to the constituency offices. Ms Monareng said that they would be glad to hand posters over to the constituencies, and she pointed out that they had them in abundance.

Prof Mayatula (ANC) pointed out that with regards to the HIV statistics for both men and women, it was important to consider the fact that men did not get tested on their status. He stated that women got this opportunity when they sought antenatal care. It was his opinion that this factor could contribute to the disparity between the prevalence rates of men and women.

Ms Msimang stated that men were tested less regularly, but that there were more women in South Africa than there were men. This made it more likely for the prevalence rate amongst women to be higher. However, she pointed out that there were an alarmingly high number of people that did have the disease, and that this position had to be crushed.

Mr Mpontshane (IFP) stated that there were a large number of rural people that did not understand English. He wanted to know in what language their message was taught.

Ms Monareng lifted a poster showing the inner body parts of a man and a woman. She stated that fortunately for them, their posters were self-explanatory and people could generate some talk around them.

Mr Mpontshane (IFP) wanted to know whether training was couched in cultural terms, as this was necessary for the individual.

Ms Monareng explained that the training was conducted at a local centre and people would be required to discuss problems they encountered in their own settings. She said that some cultural beliefs were not necessarily harmful, but those that were had to be exposed. She added that individuals would talk within the context of their own cultures.

Colloborative Education with South Africans (CEWSA)
Mr Sassmann explained that the aim of the organisation was to facilitate free distribution of books to under-resourced educational institutions. He showed a ten minute video showing exactly what went on during a Book Drive. There were 12m containers each holding about 15 000 text books. This particular drive had 6 of the containers. Forklifts had to be used to offload the containers. The video showed that there were 60 volunteers who would sort the books, and this would facilitate selection by the schools. The sorting would occur over two days, after which the identified recipient educational institutions would come and collect their books. A large number of the books were teacher resource material. In addition, between 60% and 70% of the books were brand new. The South-Western Book Drive, held in February 2001, had 60 000 books. Spoornet came in as a sponsor and moved the containers by rail. The video showed a high quality of books catering for grades 1 to 7.

Mr Sassmann explained that the South African branch was formed in May 1994 after reading an article by Mr W Dudley of the USA inviting South African institutions to contact him if they wanted to receive books from the country. This process led to CEWSA. The first Book Drive had 32 000 books, and they arrived in Cape Town 3 months after the negotiations. Initially general books were provided. In 1997, CEWSA officials met with a Texas legislature representative who promised to send their excess textbooks each year to be distributed in South Africa. This led to a move to focus on Mathematics, Science and English textbooks. Sample books were given to the appropriate subject advisors. As transport costs were very high (at a cost of R15 000 to transport 3 containers), these were sponsored. The main sponsor in South Africa was Engen Oil, and it took on the duty to cover all the administration costs. Kentucky Fried Chicken would sponsor meals, whilst Spoornet and Portnet took care of delivery costs. In addition, Telkom provided telephone services.

Mr Sassmann said that 100 000 books were distributed outside Cape Town in September 2000. These were able to reach approximately 200 educational institutions. In February 2001 the organisation went further into the Western Cape and distributed 60 000 books. He added that to date they had donated well over 1.2 million books, and that in October 2001, there was a shipment due for the Eastern Cape. This would represent the first Book Drive outside the Western Cape.

Mr Sassmann referred to the modus operandi of CEWSA. As soon as they were informed of available books, they would identify 3 committee members who had the task of visiting the distribution area. They would brief the committee regarding what was expected of them in a half-day workshop. After 2weeks, there would be a teleconference call sponsored by Telkom to make a further briefing. The local committee would identify the expected recipients, in corroboration with the relevant institutions.

CEWSA did not store the books in a warehouse, but rather distributed them within one week. The largest distribution had been a stock of 100 000books, distributed at the cost of approximately R1million. He went on to say that for the first time, CEWSA would be taking its drive outside the Western Cape, and that this was the result of the sponsorship by Spoornet. Some 40 000books were expected in Port Elizabeth on 10 October 2001, and that the distribution would take place between 15 and 19 October. In February 2002, containers would be headed towards East London, whilst the Durban harbour and the Northern Province would receive books in August 2002.

Mr Sassmann said that Engen agreed to sponsor a South African representative to visit the USA in order to further negotiate the programme. The idea would be that the representative would approach the publishers and negotiate the possibility of receiving his remainders. The success of this idea would depend on the representative successfully negotiating additional sponsorship to transport the books to South Africa. He noted that CEWSA would first discuss feasibility issues with the South African educational department before committing itself to anything. Thus there would be upcoming meetings to discuss these issues. The following assistance is being sought from the Portfolio Committee:
1. Letter of Support
2. The permission to utilise provincial education department internal communication services.

Discussion
Prof Mayatula (ANC) confirmed Mr Sassman’s two requests. He felt that the letter was a commitment that could be endorsed.

A Member commented that this was a very challenging and difficult are and the system was a very good support effort. In principle he did not think that there would be a problem with the request for the letter. He wanted to know to what extent the content of the books was compatible with the current South African curriculum.

Mr Sassmann stressed the fact that the books from Texas were compatible with the South African educational system. Before distribution had begun, the Western Cape Department of Education was approached. In addition, Mr O’Connel led the organisation to subject advisors. The sponsors were then sent with a sample. He noted that the advisors were very impressed with the samples, and only very minor differences were found (i.e. reference to in dollar terms instead of rand terms).

The focus on the Eastern Cape books would be more on English. As a result an English advisor was given 4 literature books to assess. He said that she expressed great satisfaction because the books had been seen and appreciated at her region in the West Coast. Therefore, as far as he took it from the Western Cape advisors, there were no compatibility problems.

Mr Molewa (ANC) thought it apparent that the distribution would not cover all the needs of the country. He asked whether the books would continue to be available, for instance, in case they needed to be bought, because lack of availability could result in the books not being of much use. It was therefore necessary to know whether there would be continued access to the use of the books.

Mr Sassmann responded to this question saying that the organisation did not know the needs of the respective communities. It was for this reason that the local committees were set up because it was obvious that the distribution would not be once off. The organisation was trying to negotiate simultaneous shipments, and that they did not see the continuance question as a real problem. He noted that as a non-profit organisation, such aims could be adhered to.

Prof Mayatula (ANC) referred to the calling for a letter endorsing the continuity of the deliveries. He wanted clarification regarding this process, and he asked exactly what the position of CEWSA was in this light.

Mr Mbadi (UDM) said that he agreed with the endorsement of the request made because the organisation was making a good contribution. He expressed concern over the distribution to the deep rural areas of the country, and he wanted to know what arrangements were being made to reach the schools concerned.

Mr Sassmann responded that in a shipment of 12 15 000kg containers, in the entire South West District there was not one crane that could lift the containers. The cranes could only lift cranes that were 6m, half the size of the containers used. He stated that if it was not for the army, the trucks would have had to be sent back to Cape Town, and delivered by road at the cost of R16 000. He emphasised that now they knew that it is would be necessary to first check on the capabilities of an area before heading towards it.

Mr Mpontshane (IFP) stated that if it was within the powers of the Portfolio Committee, he felt that the request for the letter be endorsed.

Prof Mayatula (ANC) added that the second request was more of an assignment to the committee members because the blockage of developmental projects usually occurred on the provincial levels.

Mr Mpontshane (IFP) referred to the distribution of the books and he mentioned a Non-Governmental Organisation that was distributing books in Kwa-Zulu Natal. He wanted to know whether CEWSA was connected to this body.

Mr Sassmann said that the two were not connected.

Mr Randall said that there was no problem as far as endorsement. He added that as far as High Schools and Primary Schools were concerned, they fell within the jurisdiction of the provincial governments, thus access could be facilitated on those levels.

Mr Sassmann responded that representatives from the Ministry of Education were also contracted to work for them. They would be informed of the policy issues whilst the local committee identified the distribution. He firmly stated that the organisation would simply insist that no schools could be left out, because any school that was seeking the assistance ought to receive it.

Prof Mayatula (ANC) added that endorsement would be on a broad level.

Mr Khompela (ANC) said that he was also endorsing the request. He asked whether the organisation was able to review itself. He accepted that the process began in the Western Cape, but he wanted to know to what extent the organisation was prepared to review its position (i.e. assisting provinces with a real dire need). He called for all logistical problems to be ignored for the purposes of this question, and simply asked how far CEWSA was prepared to review itself.

Mr Sassmann said that he would be going to the USA in November 2001 to discuss matters relating to a re-focus of the organisation.

Prof Mayatula (ANC) expressed excitement that the containers were already reaching all of South Africa. As a result, the organisation had already responded to the need to widen the net.

Mr Montsitsi (ANC) said that he too endorsed the request. He asked whether there was a database of the towns and schools where the distribution occurred, in both rural and urban areas.

Mr Sassmann stated that there was a recorded database, and that the organisation insisted that the local committee supply a complete list of all the schools. In addition, the organisation would also insist on thank you letters from all the schools that received assistance.

Desillion Presentation
Prof Mayatula explained that Desillion was a foundation that had allowed him on many occasions to twist their arms in order to build community schools. The Foundation was now moving into Mathematics, Information Technology, and other fields, and had requested the opportunity to share its recent initiatives.

Mr Skwambane outlined the initiatives of the foundation: a simulated equities training programme, the ‘Busy kids’ programme and ‘TRACK’.

Firstly, the simulated equities training programme, deals with computer based training, and is composed of two phases. The first phase was the introduction to the financial markets to teachers, with a particular focus on the stock markets. The second phase would be the implementation of ‘Share Friend’, in terms of which teachers would be trained to bring pupils up to speed. He added that this was a Desillion backed programme.

Secondly, the ‘Busy Kids’ programme is an electronic business tool for school children that allows them to fictitiously trade on line. It is a learning tool that could motivate children to think creatively, targetting the 10-18 years age group. It is also an experiential learning tool as it would give the children access to business information. It would also serve as a potential mode of communication via the Internet, with children from elsewhere. The focus would be on Mathematics, Accounts, Business Technology and E Technology.

Thirdly, ‘TRACK’ was begun at Stellenbosch University, with the aim of stimulating and supporting the teaching of Physical Science. This was hoped to encourage entry into technological careers. The TRACK Pack consisted of a ‘box of goodies’ that children could use in this regard.

He went on to state the critical success factors for the three programmes: -
- Computer access.
- Software and Technical Support.
- The training of teachers.
- The distribution and access to schools, and he said that this is where the influence of this Portfolio Committee would become relevant.

Mr Skwambane said that one of the greatest successes of this project would be to provide children with the self-esteem to reach their goals. He concluded by asking the Committee for suggestions of how to get the ICT programmes into schools. This was the real reason for requesting the opportunity to make the presentation, and went on to say that the foundation had already considered using pilot projects. However, he wanted to know whether the Committee had any further suggestions, and in addition, whether they knew of any schools that presently met the critical success factors.

Discussion
Ms Gandhi (ANC) stated that her only problem was that in a situation where there were many poor children, this technology would cause many of these children to develop a culture of high business technology that was not accessible to them in reality. Her experience was that aspirations would be built up to a high level, with the result that the children became disillusioned. She added that the idea of buying and consumerism was one of the reasons why the children would resort to theft.

Mr Skwambane explained that the ‘Busy-Kids’ programme was essentially a tool used to create ones own business, and not merely a programme about buying. These business principles were reflected in the package, and they would allow the children to generate revenue for themselves. As a result children would not have to resort to crime. The foundation wanted children to think on that level, but with the numeracy to do so. Consumerism was supported, and naturally so, but the foundation was aiming to encourage the children to spend locally.

Mr Khompela (ANC) said that the idea was wonderful. However, he was not sure of the relevance of it at this stage. He explained that whilst they were undergoing moves to build schools in certain areas, moving to such an advanced technology could further build class distinctions. He said that these initiatives were likely to go to modern schools, whilst in some areas there were no schools at all. In his opinion, this was the gap that the government was trying to close, and he wanted to know how the poor would benefit from this project.

Mr Skwambane responded that the foundation was not trying to put the technology into White schools as there was a definite need to bridge the gap. He said that they had also entertained the idea of creating regional centres, which would allow children to learn from there. He added that this made it necessary to have a long-term endorsement from the educational perspective, in order to rope the corporate world into the process.

Mr Montsitsi (ANC) said it was true that the existent disparities were inherited. As the process of reconstructing the country was underway, it would not be possible in the foreseeable future to provide all the required services. However, the main thrust was to provide schools. Nevertheless, he added that in the process of development, it was necessary to acknowledge that South Africa had to be brought into the first world. Thus one had to recognise that South Africa would experience uneven development for a long time to come. However, the object would be to close the gap, and this made it essential for the two levels of development to meet in the middle. Thus one could not assert that they would not entertain this move until a later stage.

Mr Skwambane said that as the country developed, it would be impossible to assert the ability to help everybody in one instance. However, to make a difference to a certain number would allow a larger base of professionals to be developed. Thus it was necessary to go ahead with the project, no matter how small it would begin. He gave the example of the group MADD, Mothers Against Drunk Drivers, formed by a South African mother whose son was killed by a drunk driver. The programme is now all over the world. The foundation was committed to transmitting the programme, and the question was simply how to carry that out with the guidance and assistance of the committee.

Mr Khompela (ANC) clarified that he was simply asking how the gap would be closed. He was not saying that the technology could not be implemented.

Ms Gandhi (ANC) wanted to clarify her position as well. She said that when she talked of consumerism, she was referring to countries such as the USA that had a lot of technology. Students were learning how to consume more and more, and not that the more they would buy would result in a lot less available for developing countries. She felt that it was essential to make children aware of what this type of economy would do to the country. She suggested that it this could be shown in the programme, it would be a start because children would be taught valuable lessons.

Mr Mpontshane (IFP) asked who the target group was.

Mr Skwambane stated that it included both teachers and scholars. He added that the teachers as the modellers of the future society had a great impact. Thus it was necessary that they better understand the economy in order to be able to provide better guidance.

Mr Skwambane said that the foundation was looking at the fear of technology because this had to be overcome. He said that it was necessary to overcome the concept that one had to work around the technology.

Prof Mayatula (ANC) laughingly added that the committee feared technology. He explained that they had laptops that they never used, and thus it might be necessary to begin the programme there. He noted that him and a few others did visit Stellenbosch University in order to see the operation of TRACK. He suggested making another visit as a group in order to get a better feel.

Mr Gandhi (ANC) asked whether the programme went out of Gauteng.

Mr Skwambane said that the foundation did promote the programme on a national scale. ‘TRACK’ operated in the Western Cape, and the other two in Gauteng. In addition, ‘Busy-Kids’ originated in Pietermaritzburg. Another reason for their briefing was in order to hear where the product could be extended. He stated that a myriad of aspects came into this (i.e. he was aware that people were trying to build libraries and it could be possible to put the resources on disk). Thus there were many ways to use technology as a tool for education. He said that the final objective was to hold competitions around the country in order to provide children with the incentive to become involved. Corporate South Africa would also have to be brought in.

Prof Mayatula (ANC) asked whether the questions posed in conclusion of the presentation were rhetorical. He added that the questions were linked and that it would be necessary to find out from the educational department how to locate schools. He said that he did not want to raise the hopes of the foundation because it would take a clearer understanding of the whole process to allow identifying schools that would qualify.

Ms Smith (Desillion) suggested getting teachers up to speed initially. She said it was right not to create unreasonable expectations. Thus realistically, they could send a mentor to an area where teachers could meet for training. This would clearly have to be a place that was accessible to all the teachers, and with the necessary computers with Internet facilities. The teachers would have to be able to take the resources back to their schools. In her view, these were the very critical factors. The mentor would then remain mentor indefinitely.

Prof Mayatula (ANC) said that the matter would be left on that note. There were nine provinces in the country, and one had to realise that it would not be possible to deal with all of them. He said that all the constituent members were anxious to ‘spark the fire’ in their constituency.

The meeting was adjourned.

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