Saturday, October 1st, 2011 | education
In the late afternoon on Wednesday, 28 September 2011, in the school hall of Bridgeville Primary School, the responsibility for technology in education was formally transferred from the Khanya project to the Western Cape Education Department (WCED). Of course, Khanya always was part of the WCED, but it operated in project mode. Henceforth, the WCED will assume responsibility for technology innovation in the classroom through its own internal structures.
Brian Schreuder, Deputy Director-General of the WCED gave an overview of the Khanya project, reflecting on its achievements over the past ten and a half years. He told the members of the audience, made up mainly of Khanya staff and commercial partners (sadly, only four WCED officials attended the event) that they were there to “celebrate the successes and achievements of Khanya over the years.” He said that the project “is recognized in South Africa and overseas as one of the great innovations in the use of technology in education.” This was possible, he said, because the project ran efficiently, free of the red tape of a government department.
Brian introduced the head of the education department, Penny Vinjevold. The audience hardly breathed in anticipation of information about the road ahead for technology in schools in the Western Cape. She said nice things about Khanya and mentioned that the WCED will consider the way in which technology will be taken forward in schools. However, the audience was disappointed since the one question to which everyone wanted an answer was not addressed: how does the WCED plan to do this?
The principal of South Peninsula High School, Brian Isaacs, got up close to the end of the proceedings and bravely expressed his strong disagreement with the premature ending of Khanya. He described it as “a brutal act – decided upon by WCED management without consultation with the schools.”
It has been my privilege to manage this great project for more than a decade and the MC for the evening, Ingrid Graham, gave me the opportunity to thank all those who had a part in the success of the project: those education department officials who allowed the project to get started, the teachers and principals who gave their co-operation, the social and commercial partners, and the tremendous Khanya staff.
I also had the opportunity to announce my new role at Mustek as head of their e-learning division, and I could publicly thank the company for its faith in me as an individual, as well as its commitment to e-learning in South Africa. I am thrilled at the prospect of taking all the lessons learned over the past ten years to the other provinces and hope that the Khanya light will ignite a far bigger, brighter light on the rest of the continent.