School tablets fitted with tracking devices to prevent theft

The Education Department has recalled 88,000 tablets to be redistributed later.

A Boitumelong Secondary School pupil listens attentively during a lesson, Picture: Vumani Mkhize/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The Gauteng Education Department says the recall of 88,000 tablets distributed to schools across the province is not permanent.

The department says the devices will be fitted it with tracking devices to prevent further theft of the tablets from schools.

Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi said 3,000 tablets have been stolen this year alone.

The Department's Pumla Sekhonyane says the tablets will be distributed along with a new set of initiatives to lift e-learning off the ground.

"They are being retrieved so we can fit them with tracker devices, they will obviously be returned to school. We have indicated that we are taking a holistic approach to the idea of smart classrooms."

However, the Democratic Alliance (DA)'s Ashor Sarupen has criticised the department for distributing the tablets without installing tracking devices in the first place as the cost to replace the stolen tablets is way over the cost of tracking devices.

"The country is riddled with crime and the government seems to think nobody is going to break into schools to steal their tablets. It's been a joke from start to finish, they've no disrupted their e-learning programme."

Sarupen says teachers have also not been trained to use the tablets.

"The tablets were procured with problems and there was corruption found of a tender."

The paperless teaching programme was launched in January this year by Lesufi.

Launching the programme, he said schools would receive state-of-the-art internet connections at no expense to government.