Tablets in SA classes could replace books

2012-10-19 14:49

Cape Town – Tablets might be the answer to the recent textbook crisis in Limpopo that showed access to information is a key obstacle to the raising standard of education in South Africa.

According to Wesley Lynch, chief executive officer of Realmdigital, the primary reason why schools in a developing country should embrace tablets is because the digital device offers someone the opportunity to give them the information you would have given in a textbook.

“Tablets are not just a replacement for textbooks, it is in many ways a gateway to an entire access of human knowledge and the internet. And in many cases for an equivalent price,” he told News24.

Realmdigital is a South African e-business strategy and technology partner, specialising in internet and mobile platforms.

Lynch said instead of buying textbooks for three years, you can buy a tablet and acquire all those textbooks in digital form for the same costs as you would over those years.


He said they are working with stakeholders that are supplying content and with academic publishers like Unisa to see how they can engage to help package their content in a structure.

But there are many challenges because they need to adhere to certain curriculum standards.

Lynch said the fact that there is a textbook crisis shows the depth of inadequacy.

iPads are admittedly not the best solution for state schools, but there are Android alternatives that cost half the price of Apple’s products, and must therefore be considered candidates for a government-subsidised distribution model.

In schools that don’t qualify for subsidies, due to a legacy of privilege, another possibility is for learners to bring their own tablets to school. These can be integrated into the school’s network and custom app ‘store’.  Private ownership is already becoming more attainable, some cellular contracts offer a tablet along with a handset, at a low premium.

But, even these mechanisms leave tablets out of reach for many poor sections of society, and state subsidies would be stretched to spread the tablet effect far and wide.

However, there is evidence to suggest tablets with pre-loaded content are more cost-effective than sourcing printing course material. But the best news of all is that for approximately R1 000, schools can buy an Android experience that compares satisfactorily to higher end models.

– Follow Chantelle on Twitter.

  • david.smith.127648 - 2012-10-19 14:52

    See how fast they get stolen, If they ever get there!!!

      barry.mcbride - 2012-10-19 15:08

      Exactly, “textbook crisis” will become tablet crisis!

      celtis.africana - 2012-10-19 15:32

      I thought they meant the stone slate tablet where you write with hammer and chisel but then I saw the photo and looked at the calendar and its not April. PS; follow the delivery truck to see where they dump these.

      andrez.kolesky - 2012-10-19 16:36

      They don't even want to use the pill, never mind a tablet.

      louis.olivier.988 - 2012-10-19 17:26

      Some more wasted tax payer money. And anoth anc cadre will line his/her pockets. I bet the price will be inflated somthing like 300% to grease all the anc palms with a finger in the pie. So what if they get dumped somewhere, all the cares worry about is lining their pockets

      art5SA - 2012-10-19 20:25

      Spoken like a TRUE BUSINESMAN!!! These "TABLETS" will NEVER REACH the schools... They will FLOOD the townships...but NONE will appear in the schools the are destined for!

      john.loveland.9 - 2012-10-20 11:40

      Once they get there they still need power to work.... Which many Limpopo households don't have... and the schools won't have either if they don't start paying there accounts

  • moriri.mosweu - 2012-10-19 14:56

    U ya hlanya..

      liveby.thesword.1 - 2012-10-19 23:46

      whaaat.....this blokes clearly desperate for a market.....the administration couldn't even deliver an 18th century service in 2012.....THIS IS THE WORST IDEA IVE EVER HEARD OF!..RDP housing fraud ring a bell...?

  • willem.v.hoven - 2012-10-19 14:56

    And the tablets will deliver it selves?

  • johan.harlaar.9 - 2012-10-19 15:13

    Mmmmmmm, do you think they would reach there destination? I am sure they won't be dumped at the road side but we could see an increase of tablets in Zim.....

  • susan.paul.330 - 2012-10-19 15:17

    Worst idea i ever heard...

      al.pal.106 - 2012-10-19 18:04

      @Susan, you probably do not have any idea of either the uses, advancements of the devices themselves or the current text book load of our kids today. We talk on this forum all the time about the kids leaving school at the moment are unemployeable, but imagine if every kid used these tablets in school, handed in documents and spreadsheets for assignments. How ready would these kids now be for the work environment. On the teaching side teachers with carefully written software programs can see if kids are following in class and if the are doing the recommended reading and class work. Don't let your own emotional issues cloud your judgement.

      pagel.trivia - 2012-10-19 19:40

      @al: Really? Who will replace the broken and stolen tablets? Because there will be a LOT of that. Books are way more robust than tablets.

      art5SA - 2012-10-19 20:26

      al.pal... what about the Schools WITHOUT ELECTRICTY???????????? Idiot!

  • casskot - 2012-10-19 15:19

    Go sell your tablets somewhere else, right now we need our Textbooks ...our departments cannot manage the simple stuff so please !!!

  • danielvincent87 - 2012-10-19 15:20

    I think the idea is not bad at all in fact it could work, the fact is that you can get an android tablet for R800 from Taiwan. The real issue comes in with the cost of the e-books and also the training involved in how to use a tablet. Yes tablets are user friendly however if you never really used a computer or any 3.0 technology it takes getting used to it. You would need to train teachers to be able to use the tablets and train the students. That being said I do believe that using technology to educate is something we are moving towards globally. However why not take away the construct of a physical school all together?

      karen.perkswoodward - 2012-10-19 18:13

      Are tablets not similar to smart phones? Teachers already have knowledge of setting up intranet and using wi-fi enabled devices in order to share information. What would the training be for? Just because the Education Department seems to function in the 20th century,it does not mean that teachers are ignorant and uneducated!

      art5SA - 2012-10-19 20:28

      Karen... they will be attending UNION MEETINGS.... They cannot teach 'em to read... HTF will they teach 'em to use a tablet?????

      karen.perkswoodward - 2012-10-20 08:28

      I work with colleagues of all races who work very hard and take pride in their work! The social challenges that the children in their classes face would discourage even the most motivated teachers! All South Africans must strive for similar values and we must not generalize according to the poor behaviour and work ethics of some people!

  • Serati Charity Mashishi - 2012-10-19 15:24

    if textbooks cant be delivered why even suggests tablets?

      al.pal.106 - 2012-10-19 18:28

      @Serati, think about it carefully. Go back and read the original articles about the school books. It was now all books and it certainly was also not all grades either. So your whole argument is flawed. Work this through with me I'll use simple figures to help in the calculations so they will not be related to actual figures. Let's assume each child on average has 6 subjects and let's assume we have 1,000,000 kids in all grades. You will agree that the department would need to check what subject each school offers then how many of each class and grade take which subject and then deliver these unique packages variations per school. So they need to deliver 6,000,000 books. Now delivering just 1,000,000 of the same identical device is certainly a lot simpler do you not think? Schools can individually load each unit with the specific books needed, before handing it to the kid. Imagine the amount of paper and ink we would be saving? Never mind the green house gasses saving by not having to produce and distribute all those books?

  • jan.vanderwesthuizen.370 - 2012-10-19 15:26

    Corruption will be much easier. No need to dump books. Press the delete button.

  • tebogo.makaneta - 2012-10-19 15:37

    Good business idea Sir, but not a solution for the textbook crisis we have up here. People must just do their job, it is as easy as that and there is nothing more to it.

  • lehlohonologoodwill.modupi - 2012-10-19 15:38

    Insanity at its best, once more we gonna see this going to whites schools. A kid in the townships can barely bring pocket money to school and people are talking bwt em bringing tablets to school if the scul doesnt get a subsidy!

      maarten.slabbert.7 - 2012-10-19 18:21

      I suggest you read again. The auther suggests that white schools will have buy their own because of a "history of privilege". But that others be subsidised. So, next complaint?

      sbarnard2 - 2012-10-20 13:07

      How u want to give a land where kids get food at school tablets??.. Wtf?? Who is so duumb

  • ben.louw.5 - 2012-10-19 15:51


  • irvin.mkhari - 2012-10-19 15:53

    what a stupid idea,americans are fools.they have no interest on other country and people except for promoting they technology.

  • quartus.vanzyl - 2012-10-19 15:58

    you must be out of your mind to even think about this "possibility"

  • irvin.mkhari - 2012-10-19 15:58

    what a stupid idea,americans are fools.they do have interest on other countries and people except promoting their on technology without looking at the shortcomings.they are interested on the benefits.

      Shaun Daly - 2012-10-19 16:04

      Then based off your definition of the word, I hereby name you an honorary American.

      rlong1952 - 2012-10-20 23:21

      What has America got to do with this article? Read it properly. Eish. The author suggests tablets from TAIWAN not Apple products. Good grief.

  • jurgen.eksteen - 2012-10-19 16:16

    This is the most mentally challenged idea I ever read. Maybe in 50 years time IF the country is built up from today onwards.

  • Stewart Croucamp - 2012-10-19 16:20

    I have worked in a school. Have you seen how children destroy their school stationery. Can you imagine how long the technology would last. Not with the destructive youth we have.

      dawood.timol - 2012-10-19 16:29

      u were probably in a school in England..HOOLIGANS

  • deon.meiring - 2012-10-19 16:20

    Great plan, but a tablet is very expencive! Who will pay for them?

      al.pal.106 - 2012-10-19 18:36

      Much cheaper in all aspects than current format. From production to distribution. Additional you will get huge support from big corporation to get their devices into the hands of that many future consumers. There was much talk about world education targets many years back to get small cheaper $100 net books into the hands of kids. This is a no brainer to me.

  • michael.i.wright - 2012-10-19 16:30

    Jeez! Think of the environment! Imagine what the batteries in these things will do for pollution levels when they are thrown on the rubbish dump.

  • long.tom.509 - 2012-10-19 16:33

    E-tablet -can imagine lucky under a mopani tree in limpopo with his e-tablet,"where do you plug it in?"

      khethu.ndlovu.3 - 2012-10-20 12:00

      Dont make fun out of this? Do you know the real couse for 'Lucky' to be sitting under the mopani tree asking that silly question? Do u know the real couse of young piet doing it in a proper class room with ventilation? I am sure you will hate to be reminded of the real couse of this.

      rlong1952 - 2012-10-20 23:22

      Umm, they run off batteries. Charge it before you leave home, pretty simple.

      brucemgiles - 2012-11-05 08:49

      @khethu, ye the corrupt government, ever increasingly leaning towards the present.

  • long.tom.509 - 2012-10-19 16:35

    The poephol that is selling these,of course he says what he is saying what else!

  • martin.brasg - 2012-10-19 16:51

    The only tablets you will find in South African schools are Mandrax and Tic

      khethu.ndlovu.3 - 2012-10-20 11:53

      Martin, do you hate your country that much? What have it done to you? Is it becouse of the power change or something? Are you still bitter, yes it might not be perfect but hey it is still your country.

  • John Badenhorst - 2012-10-19 17:01

    The idiot that has come up with this idea should be shot!!!! in our society, normal citizens are MURDERED for a cellphone and a couple of many lives will be at risk for a fancy tablet? Instead, government should be held accountable and actually pull some fingers out of their a*$es!!!

  • eugene.muller.7 - 2012-10-19 17:28

    They wont be delivered either...'lost' on the way.

  • Cpho Addwin Featherbird - 2012-10-19 17:43

    If thy steal pencis nd kil fr it hw much more a tablet? Its ROUGH at da townships! Lol

  • simon.richansen - 2012-10-19 17:47

    All the text books I have bought digitally cost the same so not sure how that is going to help. Plus how are you going to "deliver" a 200mb text books to someone without Internet?

      Esna Swart - 2012-10-20 07:40

      without electricity in many cases as well as internet. And if adults cant even stay off Facebook, twitter, chat sites and emails during a meeting how will they get school kids to concentrate on school work and the teacher

      jason.dutoit - 2012-10-20 11:19

      the textbooks will be owned by the education department and not need to be sold for profit. 200MB is a slight exaggeration, wouldn't you say? the books can be distributed over a wifi network at each school. yes, this all needs infrastructure, and yes, there are other problems. but it is hardly impossible.

      sbarnard2 - 2012-10-20 13:00

      Listen here.. Kids are denied internet at model C schools..don't come with u'r rep antics.. Get a real job

      rlong1952 - 2012-10-20 23:25

      The file can be pre-loaded onto the tablet, don't need wi-fi or internet.

  • mfundo.kamagwaza - 2012-10-19 17:53

    This is wonderful news! Racists will always have a negetive thing to say even when theres no need to be negative, they only happy when such tecnologies are only used by their little ricists..The modern world is digital as it iz, grooming kids that know how to use these devices & access information is a good step in the right direction for the country..

      Barry Eason - 2012-10-19 18:27

      As the children/youth (as well as other innocent law abiding tax paying citizens) suffer at the hands of a truly corrupt government, so the cycle intensifies. The next generation (our future leaders) will naturally be more inclined to continue their pillaging and criminal rampage of good ol' sunny South Africa! If you really think about it, we the citizens, with the power to vote, can vote out these rotten A.L.V.I.N.S out of power. By the way ALVINS stands for Aggravating Lazy Violent Idiotic Nay-saying Schemers. Maybe the current ruling party are trembling in their boots at the possibility of losing power and are stealing what they can before they possibly get booted out! Let's vote these ALVINS out...

      mfundo.kamagwaza - 2012-10-19 19:03

      "Lets vote these ALVINS out" you say..And replace them with who? DA?? Look Barry, just because you enjoyed white rule,doesnt mean we did.. Mybe you should take a break from reading to much newspapers then you will see the good things ANC does for South Africans..Smart as you are, you should see that the media is bias and in favour of DA and not reporting the the good things in Government..Dont be an idiot

      khethu.ndlovu.3 - 2012-10-20 11:48

      Eason, you mean the young south african whites will grow up to be more apartheitic than their parents? Or it only applies to blacks?

  • Kerry Naude - 2012-10-19 18:24

    I have taught at both 'black' and 'white' schools and can speak from experience when I say, unless we 'get' with the times and move into the technological age, the learners are the ones that will lose out. I would love to have tablets in my classroom, what a way to keep the learners engaged and actually interested in school

  • josias.smith.7 - 2012-10-19 19:40

    Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha, sorry for laughing so much! But didn't the government and their tender company burn the books on purpose. Yeah that's what happened. So it wasn't a lack of service but a purpose towards corruption. In our country where crime is high in the sky. Do you really think that will work. Excuse me! We are not going fall for that. Please think of something better to make us think you are trying to do something it, and what your really doing is just covering up your scandal.

  • faizieishlah.shabalala - 2012-10-19 19:43

    OLX, R50

  • paul.bester1 - 2012-10-20 06:29

    This is a fantastic idea and a lot of 1st world countries have already done this in their schools, however with the amount of crime in this country and recently reading how one boy stabbed his friend to death over an argument about a pencil, I can just imagine the amount of bloodshed and school robberies are going to take place.

  • Fixzoza - 2012-10-20 07:42

    Great idea, should be a great move...Kenya is already leading in this tech..

  • lara.vanrooyen.1 - 2012-10-20 07:48

    Can't we all get tablets? Preferably Valium, please.

  • bothabibi - 2012-10-20 09:35

    Great idea! But... :) how will they educate some students to use it correctly and not break/steal/sell it??

  • melanie.reah - 2012-10-20 10:41

    Will just give them something else to Steal, Lose, Break or Dump

      khethu.ndlovu.3 - 2012-10-20 11:38

      Give who? Please! Loose that superiority tendency of yours you go to the toilet just like everybody else.

  • Pete7930 - 2012-10-20 12:47

    Hahahahahahahahaha... And who is paying for these? They wont reach first teatime and the tablets will either be broken or missing!

  • brigitte.bell.33 - 2012-10-20 12:59

    And u seriously think they will stay at school and not vanish?????

  • werner.niksch - 2012-10-20 16:50

    hahaha!all i can do is laugh cause this will never work in south africa, especially not in limpopo of all places.hahaha

  • jjmostert - 2012-10-21 06:52

    People canot even afford school fees that is so high, how are they going to afford Tablets?

  • - 2012-10-21 10:11

    So they cant deliver R100 textbooks, and a R3000-R6000 tablet is the solution? The Audacity astounds me.

  • attie.mostert.9 - 2012-11-06 11:40

    ROFL, what a joke!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • BullLionaires - 2012-11-07 08:55

    I would like to get a couple of androids for my kids but don't know which is more affordable and where can I get them.

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