Ninety three more schools in the Free State will eventually go online with fully equipped and connected computer laboratories following premier Ace Magashule’s recent signing of a memorandum of understanding with Communications Minister Dinah Pule.
A total of 144 schools in the province had been earmarked for school connectivity and 51 have already have been connected.
The MOU covers a various aspects, namely schools labs and connectivity,e-health connectivity, e-agriculture, community broadcasting and provision of basic ICT services as base for service delivery.
A high powered team of stakeholders in the ICT sector met in Bloemfontein last week to develop a massive infrastructure roll-out plan. State-owned entities reporting to the communications ministry were represented at the forum.
Minister Pule said she was committed to working with the provincial department of education to fast-track the process of connecting the remaining 93 schools.
“The department of communications has prioritized the roll-out of ICT centres and school labs in rural areas. The Post Office will also expand its infrastructure to reach more rural people as it delivers on its assigned responsibility of Settop-box distribution.
The department of education will also explore the possibility of using the Post Offices distribution network to distribute school textbooks,” said Pule.
She was briefing Magashule and MECs on progress around the digital terrestrial television, National ICT Policy Review and the Broadband Strategy.She led a delegation comprising CEOs and chairpersons of major public companies such as Sentech, SABC, USASA, Post Office, Postbank, Nemisa, and regulator ICASA.
The Free State is also set to benefit from the implementation of e-government connectivity to improve the digitalization of government records.
The province has also been identified to host an ICT incubation hub. The Department of Communications has also undertaken to improve community broadcasting and, to date, a total of 12 community radio stations have been licensed in the province.
Minister Pule also revealed the DOC’s plans to roll out tele-centres in the province. A total of 8 sites have been identified for rapid deployment of tele-centres in the province.
Magashule welcomed the visit by the Minister and her delegation saying it would ensure synergy between efforts of the state companies under Minister Pule’s oversight and the provincial government.