With the rapid integration of technology into our daily lives, it is only natural to see education evolving along the same lines. South Africa is now aiming to be at the forefront of this change, planning to make schools textbook-free in an entire province.
Guateng, one of the nine provinces of South Africa, has already adopted many modern educational reforms in the schools within the province. The Guateng Education Department has now unveiled a plan to turn every school in the province into a textbook-free facility. This will be coupled with a one-tablet-per-child policy which has also been implemented in many other parts of the world.
In the absence of the textbooks, school students will be able to access a treasure-trove of online educational resources on their tablets. In the past, South Africa has already experimented with this by turning Sunward Park school into a completely textbook-free institution, an experiment which has proved overwhelmingly successful and effective.
To implement the same change province-wide, authorities in the Guateng province aim to cite the Sunward Park as an example. Not only that, it will also be used as a case study to help implement the same changes in other schools. According to the Guateng officials, every new school that opens up in the province will now be modeled along the lines of the Sunward Park school.
However, the path to a textbook-free, tablet-based education is fraught with many complexities. Since many stakeholders such as the parents, the students, the teachers and the authorities are inevitably connected with school education, it will take a deliberate effort on the part of all of them to make this transition successful. At the same time, many independent analysts have cited doubts about the project, especially because many schools in Guateng currently lack even the most basic IT equipment.