The report stated that criminals broke down the “main vault door” to access keys which could unlock the entire school, early on Tuesday morning. Two security guards were allegedly tied up while the theft took place, with the administration and IT offices targeted. 185 tablets were stolen, along with 8 laptops, 2 projectors, 3 desktop PCs, a TV, and R500 cash. Lesufi has subsequently told the local community that they must help find the criminals and the stolen goods, or all the tech equipment will be removed from the school.
This is not the first time a smart school in South Africa has been targeted by criminals looking to take expensive tablets and other tech. In 2015 it was reported that the Gauteng Department of Education was withdrawing 88,000 tablets from seven township schools due to a rise in the number of burglaries. In 2017, it was found that tablets allocated to high schools in Gauteng had been smuggled out of the country and sent to Pakistan and India. This was due to the theft of these tablets.
It has also been reported that learners who receive tablets at school carry them around outside of school hours, which makes them a target for criminals. This resulted in the suspension of tablet distribution to certain learners, as the department of education said they “were not ready”.
PREVIOUSLY AT OTHER SCHOOLS DURING 2015/2017
Some pupils carried their devices to football games on the weekend, or use the state-sponsored mobile data to download movies and TV shows. “If you have almost 15,000 pupils misbehaving with this, it hits the pocket big time. It’s not yielding the desired outcome in certain areas,” he told the City Press.
“The police have also undertaken to assist with patrols.”The project has distributed equipment to Grade 12 learners in 375 schools across Gauteng and has also seen the installation of smart interactive boards in Grade 12 classrooms.
A company that failed to deliver textbooks is now in charge of tablets and laptops for schools
EduSolutions, the company which failed to deliver textbooks to schools in Limpopo in 2012, has been awarded a contract to supply Gauteng schools with laptops, tablets, and microcomputer servers worth over R171 million.
According to a report in the City Press, EduSolutions will also supply e-textbooks and “digital multimedia content” worth R30 million to the schools.
The company made headlines in 2012 due to its inability to deliver textbooks in Limpopo, which left hundreds of thousands of pupils without learning materials.
Despite its contract being suspended by the Limpopo education department, the company continues to supply textbooks to schools in KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga.
The company’s new Gauteng contract states that EduSolutions must ensure 375 schools in the province are “paperless” by 31 October – which experts predict won’t take place.
“There were serious allegations against EduSolutions. It is therefore completely improper that government is still doing business with them,” said Section 27’s Mark Heywood.
EduSolutions insisted it is capable of doing the job, referencing the fact it has delivered textbooks and learning materials to schools in Gauteng for the past 12 years “without problems”.
The Department of Education plans to have all Gauteng classrooms online by 2017, which will cost an estimated R17 billion.