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SA school principals switch from tablets to smartphones



Smartphones are replacing tablets as reporting devices for school principals. The smaller form factor is more appealing, which can help increase the usage of these devices in reporting.

A total of 2,200 Samsung Galaxy A30 smartphones were recently handed over at Birchwood Conference Centre to school principals, in a rollout that will conclude on Thursday, 15 August 2019.

In ensuring continued savings, the department identified the Samsung A30 as a substitute for existing reporting devices, which was a combination of a mobile device and a tablet. This single device is expected to yield the same result, with the benefits of substantial cost savings.

The devices are being handed out across the province by Gauteng MEC for Education and Youth Development, Panyaza Lesufi, in partnership with Vodacom. The devices support the administrative processes underpinning e-platforms which remain a focal point of communication between Principals, Districts and Head Office.

Over the last few years, the partnership between the GDE and Vodacom has enabled schools to provide reporting updates in real-time. The technology has also helped school principals to remain in close contact with the department for the resolution of problems.

“Many of our schools lack basic communication infrastructure, such as telephones,” said Lesufi. “These shortcomings have posed as obstacles, impacting the Department’s ability to consistently receive incident and update reports from schools. Today, we can confidently say that we are well on our way to overcoming this challenge, in partnership with Vodacom.” 
The principals’ reporting platform application allows them to log, among other, learner attendance, educator attendance, maintenance issues and security issues. It will also serve as a platform for all Gauteng Principals to share information on best practices, among other issues.

Rudi Matjokana, Managing Executive for Public Enterprise at Vodacom Business Group, said: “Vodacom’s partnership with the Gauteng Department of Education continues to promote the digital growth of school management as we work together to create an environment that is ultimately conducive for learning. Our partnership with the GDE aligns with the South African government’s prioritisation of digital solutions to improve efficiency across all departments.” 

The principals’ device will be incorporated into the RT15 transversal contract, with benefits like free calls to other RT15 users, and bundled SMSs.