The DA calls on the Mpumalanga Department of Education to recall the 55 000 tablets it has given to Grade 12 leaners as there are reports that the devices are used to access pornography.
For the 2021/2022 financial year, the Mpumalanga education department spent R295 million to buy tablets for 55 000 for Grade 12 learners in Quintile 1, 2 and 3 schools to help them with research. But now it has been reported by concerned parents that some of the learners are using these tablets to watch pornography and other inappropriate websites. Some of the parents even resolved that the department takes back the tablets from the children as they have been misused.
It is now obvious that the department did not do due diligence and block sensitive websites on the tablets.
The DA will thus write to Mpumalanga MEC of Education, Bonakele Majuba, to urgently recall the tablets and lock them down to be able to only work for research and educational purposes.
MEC Majuba and his department could have rather bought textbooks or e-readers with the R295 million instead of tablets which are now misused.
Had the department bought textbooks at roughly R200.00 (per textbook) with the money spent on the tablets, they would have been able to supply 267 500 textbooks to this province which has a severe shortage of Learning and Teaching Support Material (LTSM).
In the 2019/2020 Audit Report, the Auditor General reported that only 12% of learners in Mpumalanga province have access to a textbook for each subject.
The government is short-sighted to think that one can just throw tablets at a broken education system, and all problems will be fixed through technology.
The department is depriving the learners of this province their basic human rights of fair access to basic education. The DA will continue to pursue this matter until all learners’ rights are upheld.
The DA also hopes that Mpumalanga has learned a lesson or two from their counterparts in the Eastern Cape who battled to recover 55 000 Samsung smart tablets it issued to 2020 matriculants.
Mpumalanga must have a strategy in place to get back the tablets from the Grade 12 learners after they have written their final exams because our province cannot afford to buy tablets every year.