Posh SA schools insist on iPad

2012-01-26 14:40

Johannesburg - Elite private schools have told parents that their children will require iPads, according to a newspaper report on Thursday.

Kingsmead Girls' College sent a letter to parents informing them that iPad 2 tablets would be used for teaching Grades Six and Eight from July, the Times reported.

Saheti, in Bedfordview, and King David, in Linksfield, were also using the tablets.

Use of the high-tech gadgets - which cost R5 000 each - in elite schools was in stark contrast to many government schools where simple teaching support material was often hard to come by.

Education psychologist Melanie Hartgill said the move would increase the information divide between rich and poor schools.

Internet connectivity

"The rapid adoption of [information technology] infrastructure at private schools is widening the gap between the haves and have-nots."

One disadvantage of tablet teaching was that listening skills could be under developed.

IT expert Arthur Goldstuck said an advantage of the technology was that children with handwriting problems were able to keep up with the class through typing.

Director of electronic education for the education department, Phil Mnisi, said a white paper was produced for the introduction of internet connectivity to schools.

At present only 23% of schools had internet access.

Equal Education spokesperson Doram Isaacs said 3 600 schools did not even have electricity, and it would be decades before South African schools caught up with present technology.

He said poor schools should still be experimenting with technology such as tablet education.

Unlimited data

The move toward using tablets has been echoed by a business college in SA that has provided its students with tablets designed for the course.

In January 2012, PC Training and Business College introduced a Telefunken Tablet PC as part of their students' improved learning experience at all of their campuses nationwide.

The college doesn't require that the students buy the tablet.

"This exciting and ground-breaking initiative will lead to the improvement of teaching and learning and learner success rates," said deputy minister of higher education and training, Professor Hlengiwe Mkhize when shown the tablets.

Students will also have access to unlimited data on Wi-Fi connections at campuses with the tablets.

- SAPA

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