From Tuesday thousands of pupils at township schools around Gauteng will have tablets, smartboards and unlimited mobile data during specific hours.

“I am proud to declare that as from tomorrow your life will never be the same again,” Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi told thousands of Grade 12 pupils at the Grace Bible Church in Soweto on Monday afternoon.

“I am proud to declare that those that thought that quality education is for the privileged, from tomorrow we will shame them.

“From tomorrow, a child of a domestic worker or a child of a gardener or a child of an unemployed parent… will have a tablet in their hands. Gone are the days where [only] those that are rich will have a quality education.”

This second phase of a roll-out of electronic education in the province cost R1.2bn. It was estimated to reach 61 000 matriculants from 375 schools.

He told media afterwards that the roll-out was momentarily stalled in a few schools due to incomplete work by contractors who were revamping classrooms.

“Local contractors sometimes don’t finish the job. I have told the team to appoint competent people.”

Lesufi promised the pupils during his address that the tablets, and the laptops that would be given to teachers, would have unlimited data.

Unlimited data until 21:00

This news was greeted by loud cheers from the pupils.

“Let me tell you the good news. From 05:00 in the morning until 21:00 in the evening – every laptop [given to the] teachers and your tablets will have limitless data bundles,” Lesufi said.

“Never in your life – on anything that is related to education… [will] you have to go out and buy data bundles. You have free airtime to study.”

However, Lesufi warned that social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp would not be allowed. Pupils would also not be allowed to access pornography sites.

“[With] every tablet, we will get an activity report which will show us which sites you visited,” he said.

He also said that pupils who reach the top three positions in their schools would be given a four year bursary.

The second phase of the roll-out also included the implementation of interactive ‘smartboards’ in classrooms.

“I am proud to declare to you that no teacher… will ask you to go outside to clean a duster,” Lesufi told the pupils.

Chalkboards consigned to museums

“As of tomorrow… [in] every classroom we will remove the chalkboard and put in a LED screen. As of tomorrow, if you want to see a chalkboard, you must go to a museum, you must not come to our schools.”

He said teachers were trained to use the new equipment during the holidays.

“You will see them tomorrow – when they [teachers] tell you, that the heart is pumping – they will not give you a photocopied paper, you will see the heart pumping on the screen, and you will see the heart pumping on your tablet.”

Lesufi said this roll-out was specifically aimed at township schools to improve the lives of poor black and coloured children.

“I am tired of [seeing situations] where young girls [think] sugar daddies are the future,” he said.

“Gone are the days where a black child needs to rely on social grants. Where a black child needs to queue for a RDP house… we want to empower you to buy your own house instead.

“We are empowering you that when you finish your education and are given a form in a bank, and they ask you how much you earn, you will cancel that and say I don’t earn a salary, I pay salaries.”

He said he wanted Gauteng township matriculants to compete with other pupils around the globe.

Tablets have tracking devices

Lesufi said each tablet had a tracking device, and the pupil’s parents always had to know their child’s password for the tablet.

Parents would also be emailed their child’s reports.

If a tablet was broken or stolen, they would be given another in the interim period so that their learning would not be disadvantaged.

He also said that if someone tried to steal the device from a pupil, they should not act like ‘Rambo’ and fight them.

“Your life comes first.”

He said matriculants would hand over the tablets to the school after writing their final exam paper. If this was not done, the school would withhold the pupil’s matric certificate until it got the device back.

“This tablet belongs to government… not you. But you are allowed to take pictures with your friends and family.”

Lesufi told the media afterwards that allowing the pupils to take pictures with the devices would make them look after it better.





In a report released today, the Centre for Development and Enterprise (CDE) explores the financial viability of low-fee independent schools charging fees below R12,000 a year. These schools are growing rapidly and currently educate an estimated 250,000 learners across the country, providing access to good education where there are no, insufficient or dysfunctional public schools in disadvantaged communities.

The research was a response to the increasing interest of investors and donors in these schools: “Are they worth investing in?”, “Are they financially sustainable?”, “What is needed to ensure they offer quality education?” 

CDE analysed and modelled financial information from 23 registered, ‘stand-alone’ low-fee schools  and four chains of low-fee schools to determine the key factors and requirements that influence their financial viability - defined as a school’s or chain’s ability to generate sufficient income to meet its operating expenses and other financial obligations.

“Our modelling points to the positive potential of low-fee independent schools to provide affordable, good schooling to poor communities on a sustainable basis. Two types of financially viable, hypothetical low-fee schools were identified: a ‘no-frills’ primary school that offers a good but basic education; and a secondary school which delivers quality schooling through innovative teaching and learning methods,” explained CDE’s Education Programme Director, Dr Jane Hofmeyr.

The findings show that the state subsidy is critical for the survival of low-fee schools. Their main sources of income are school fees, state subsidies and, in a few cases, donations.

Both the hypothetical schools would only be viable as stand-alone ones if they were not-for-profit and thus able to qualify for a state subsidy. They would need to charge fees of R11,700 a year (in 2013), obtain a 40 per cent subsidy, and enrol some 600 to 700 learners by their third year of operation. They would then be able to repay a loan of some R30 million at 5 per cent interest over 20 years.

Economies of scale make a significant difference to the operational costs of low-fee schools. If stand-alone schools were part of a chain of three schools with centralised administration, they could reduce costs and become more viable.

In the case of for-profit low-fee schools, a chain of 10 schools with centralised administration would be viable if every school charged annual fees of R11,700 and enrolled some 600 learners. This would enable it to cover the finance costs of a 20-year loan of R30 million at 5 per cent interest.

“We found that the schools charging fees below R6,000 a year were typically survivalist, living from month to month, not knowing whether they would be able to meet their financial obligations”, Hofmeyr said. However, many of these schools had existed for a number of years, even though they did not meet the requirements of the models, which were based on conservative cost assumptions. “These schools survive because they provide good education, although they are located in basic rented premises, are poorly resourced and pay low teacher salaries.”

CDE cautions that potential investors need to take into account a number of challenges and risks in establishing and operating low-fee schools. For example, teacher salaries must be adequate to prevent high staff turnover. Changes in the government regulations, new compliance costs and bureaucratic inefficiency in registering or subsidising a school can cause major financial problems.

To enable low-fee schools to become more financial stable and provide affordable, quality education to poor communities, CDE recommends a number of reforms by government and interventions by the private sector.

Government:   By simplifying the maze of legislation affecting independent schools and developing more supportive policies that still ensure sufficient accountability, government would reduce the heavy compliance costs of schools. Increasing the state subsidy for not-for-profit low-fee schools would enable them to charge lower fees and serve poorer communities, at a lower cost to government.


Private sector:  There are multiple ways in which investors and donors could strengthen this sector, explained Hofmeyr: through public policy engagement for regulatory reform; establishing new schools and helping existing ones to expand with affordable loans; funding key components of their quality and financial viability, providing technical expertise; and funding research which will support quality improvement, innovation and sustainability.


“In the context of a struggling public schooling system, the development and expansion of independent schools serving poorer communities is a positive trend that needs greater support and an enabling policy environment,” concluded Hofmeyr.

The full report and Executive Summary can be obtained from the CDE website:


For further information:

Buhle Hlatshwayo: 078 340 2772

Dr Jane Hofmeyr: 082 784 9190

Mxit Reach launches matric revision app to help learners ace exams


The recently-launched Ukufunda Learner app has expanded to offer study guides, revision tools and more, to help South African matrics ace their final exams. The content is all free, and accessed via a mobile phone, giving learners the edge they need.


Built by Mxit Reach, the Maths Testing Tool is accessed through the new Ukufunda Learner app on Mxit, and is a self-testing tool that focuses on functions; sequences and series; probability; finance; statistics, and algebra.  Learners can can do simple exercises to train and improve their skills, and then test their knowledge.


Plenty of additional resources are added to help leaners. Included in the matric revision features in the Ukufunda Learner app are previous exam papers and study tips.


One of the key benefits that goes beyond pure revision content, is focusing on the learner themselves. A one-on-one counselling service is therefore provided by Childline that will give learners access to debrief and unpack all the stress pre- and post-exam.


Mxit Reach’s Head of Educational Programmes, Lea-Anne Moses-Magerman says: “Many learners receive very little guidance and support pre-, during and even after exams. To address this, we've created a special hub within Ukufunda that aggregates all the revision tips, past question papers, testing tools and even counselling services aimed at matriculants.”


To help matrics further prepare, the Ukufunda Learner app offers a wide variety of study tools, located in its ‘My Educational Resources’ link, inlcuding:

  • Career Xplora: Career guidance counselling app,
  • FunDza: free ereader app with over 500 locally-written stories, blogs and articles,
  • Magic Tables: an app to help learners strengthen their basic maths skills in a fun and engaging way,
  • Mindset Learn Xtra: revision and exercises for accounting, geography, life sciences, maths, maths literacy and physics, 
  • MobiSchool: video tutoring on accounting, English first additional language, life sciences, maths and physics,
  • Oxford Word of the Day: daily words and their meanings to increase and improve viocabulary and spelling skills,


To get ahead, download Mxit for free at on your mobile phone’s browser and go to Apps to add Ukufunda Learner quickly and easily.


Ukufunda was developed by Mxit Reach in partnership UNICEF and the Department of Basic Education.



Mbuyi's story:



About Mxit Reach:

Mxit Reach aims to inspire and improve lives through the development of innovative and cost-effective solutions using the power of the Mxit platform. Mxit Reach and its partners offer a broad range of educational, health and counseling services. Every month over 1.5 million South Africans utilise Mxit Reach services.


About Mxit:

Mxit puts conversation at the heart of everything. When people share rich conversations, they move forward – it’s how they connect, discover and grow. Users can share their journey with their friends, as Mxit works on almost any phone (8000+ devices), is incredibly data-light and powers chat with innovative features. From Chat Cards, and a Newsfeed, to games and a variety of content apps, Mxit helps users to stay connected and share the things that matter most to them with millions of people around the world.


And the 2014 Future Stars winner is

The finalists for the 2014 Future Stars Awards finalists have been announced and profiled on since the middle of May 2014. These 2014 Future Stars Awards finalists inspire us to believe in the future of South Africa and we celebrate them during the month of June, as part of our Youth Day Celebrations.


The youth talk of hope, perseverance and hard work, even though life is hard for them. Divorce, death of family and not having the financial resources to study are facts of life. So is going to bed hungry. Yet, they dream of achieving, so that they can succeed to look after their mothers, make a difference in their communities and be role models for others. They don’t let circumstances hold them back –they’ve figured out how to fund their studies and how to use technology to get their friends to vote for them. They are the Future Stars – they inspire us to believe in the future of South Africa. They are not the “entitled” youth, we so often accuse them of being – they are hard working, hopeful, and willing to make our future better.


The judging event of the 2014 Future Stars Awards took place on 11th of June 2014, campaign sponsors as well as guest judges  were assigned to score these top 10 finalists based on specific campaign criteria.


The 2014 Future Stars winner, Kabelo Mohlatlole (18), from Polokwane believes his key to success is to turn threats into opportunities and to keep a hopeful and victorious outlook on life. He is still currently at school and dreams of becoming a journalist after he has completed Matric this year. He is currently living his dream by writing articles for a local mine magazine on issues happening in his community as well as motivational poetry for learners.  He is currently a member of the Youth Leaders organisation at his school and helps other learners to make informed decisions on their career paths.


Coming in close second, is Keaton Harris (19), from Cape Town, who places value in hard work, determination, strong family bonds and an enduring faith in his God. He believes that his positive attitude results from never taking his “eyes off the prize”, which is helping him focus on his goals rather than his obstacles. He dreams of becoming a cardio-thoracic surgeon by studying medicine at Wits.


Don Maisels (18), the third runner up is also from Cape Town and believes perseverance, empathy and respect are keywords to live by. He is dreaming of becoming a doctor and is living it by being involved in community service projects for disabled individuals.


Ishmael Ramushu (21),  from Polokwane who maintains a strong belief in himself and believes in mustering the courage and leaving no stone unturned in working towards one’s dream. “One must never give up or compromise one’s values”.


Tholinhlanhla Thwala (21), in 5th place from Ingwavuma is also community focused and dreams of becoming a CEO for an HIV/AIDS organisation and is studying a Bachelor of Social Sciences, while working towards promoting campus health.


Click to view the rest of the Top 10 finalists.


The Future Stars Awards is an initiative that is focused on inspiring leadership and confidence in the future.  This innovative campaign was created to inspire our future stars – and others to realise that our youth are phenomenal.  Simply by sharing their dreams online on  – and then getting their friends and other youth to vote for them, they are sharing their inspiring stories and motivating others to dream of a better future, by focusing on the power of education to change their circumstances.


Argo, the multimedia publisher behind the Future Stars Awards, believes in inspiring impact in South Africa– and engages with committed brand leaders TSB Sugar, Mindset TV, Metro FM, Eduloan and NYDA to build confidence in our future as well as the youth that will create the future. Priizes were sponsored by Eduloan, Van Schaik Bookstore, Massmart and Argo.

Follow Future Stars Awards on Twitter: @FutureStarsSA



And the 2014 Future Stars winner is

The Future Stars Awards is back, inspiring more young people to reach for their dreams!

The future lies in the hands of the youth. The brilliant young minds who take charge today will be the pioneers of a brighter and better tomorrow. Sadly, of the 1.2 million children who start school every year, only 5% will complete a university degree. That’s why Argo is working together with TSB Sugar, Mindset Learn TV & MetroFM to inspire talented young minds to become future stars.

Click here to read about previous winners’ testimonials and success stories.

As a multi-media communications company, Argo is passionate about supporting achievers and bringing lasting change through education and youth media. Argo has launched many education-focused magazines and handbooks. Living up to their brand values, Argo aims to inform, involve and inspire more than 1-million top achieving pupils, students and the teachers who influence them.

The Future Stars Awards is Argo’s latest initiative targeted at aspirational youth under the age of 21, to motivate them to believe in themselves and in educations power to help them achieve their dreams. With the massive 6 year success of the Stars in Education Awards, through which Argo recognises the most inspirational and dedicated teachers in the country, Argo decided to launch a campaign targeting aspirational youth. Motivated teachers can only really make a difference when they deal with pupils who are inspired to learn.

Having someone who believes in you is a powerful motivator that gives you the support you need to realise your full potential.

Sadly, so many of our young South Africans don’t have a powerful support system to keep them working hard to build a better future, when sometimes it’s easier to give up. That’s why the Future Stars Awards is recognising the future stars out there – those learners willing to stand in long queue’s, walking in the blistering sun to school in the hope of a tertiary education.

By recognising their desire for a brighter future and believing in them, the Future Stars Awards is inspiring these learners to believe in themselves and how the power of education can help them reach their dreams.

How to enter the Future Stars Awards?

Enter the Future Stars Awards competition now by simply clicking here and stand a chance to win your share of R300 000 worth of prizes! Don’t forget to get your friends to VOTE for you to increase your chance of winning! Online entries are open from 10 March 2014 – 30 April 2014. To view the 2013 winner, click here.

The Future Stars Awards is hosted on which is a comprehensive online database of South Africa’s undergraduate courses. The website offers current and prospective students life skills, financial advice, institution information, course and bursary opportunities they need to make wise career decisions. Extensive information and encouragement to get involved in student life and inspiration to succeed is now just one click away. Argo, the multimedia communications company  behind the Future Stars Awards, believes in inspiring impact in South Africa– and engages with committed brand leaders TSB Sugar, Mindset TV, Metro FM, Eduloan and NYDA to build confidence in our future as well as the youth that will create the future

 Twitter: @FutureStarsSA

Join in on the conversation: #DreamItBelieveItDoIt


O.R. Tambo International Airport introduces its ‘Back to School’ campaign


A new initiative was launched to complement O.R. Tambo International Airport’s well-structured programme to empower communities in the vicinity of the airport. The airport launched a Back to School Campaign to bolster education and early childhood development, both of which are prime focus areas of the airport’s Corporate Social Investment approach.

As a positive start to 2014, O.R. Tambo International Airport, in partnership with education company Simple Tutoring and Waltons Stationers, launched a Back to School campaign at the OR Tambo Primary School in Phomolong. The objectives of the campaign are to support and foster academic development and to reward excellence in education.

Unathi Batyashe-Fillis, Manager: Communications and Brand Management at O.R. Tambo International, explains, “This is a multi-faceted campaign designed to provide positive support for education within communities adjacent to the airport. Furthermore, it is our way of adding value to the government’s agenda of developing, maintaining and supporting the culture of learning and teaching.

The Back to School campaign started on the 29th of January and will run until 28 February. In total, O.R. Tambo International will donate 1 200 developmental stationery packs to Grade 1 pupils. OR Tambo Primary School will be today’s recipient. Each pack contains a white board and markers, an abacus, a colouring book and crayons, pencils and an eraser. The contents will equip the learners to perform certain key learning expectations, as set out in their curriculum.

Over the next few weeks, Bapsfontein (Daveyton), Umnyezane (Daveyton) and Mpumelelo (Ivory Park) Primary Schools will also receive developmental packs.

Simple Tutoring will provide constant, additional teaching and mentoring in reading, mathematics and science for all grades at these schools. This service will provide an invaluable support structure to the schools and also ensure sustainability of improved learning.

“As a means of rewarding excellence, the airport will hosted the Ekurhuleni North District Awards ceremony for 2013’s top Grade 12 learners on the 6th of February 2014. The learners worked hard and it’s important to acknowledge their efforts,” added Batyashe-Fillis

The campaign will be concluded with the handing over of a science laboratory to Tswelopele High School in Tembisa on 28 February. The school has never had a laboratory facility: an essential resource for the effective teaching of science. This donation is O.R. Tambo International Airport’s response to the shortage of engineers in South Africa and an investment in ensuring that there are sufficient engineers for the aviation sector and the company’s airports in years to come.

The world is your oyster says Top educationalist about latest Matric Results

Independent Institute of Education

The increased pass rate of 78,2% (compared to 73.9% last year) and the fact that 30.6% of the current matriculants obtained bachelor’s passes which qualify them for a university place, will put increasing pressure for admission to tertiary education institutes.

But for those who might not be accepted at the tertiary institution of their first choice, all is not lost. Dr Felicity Coughlan, Director of the Independent Institute of Education (IIE) says even though it may feel like it’s too late for tears or cheers, there are always exciting and viable learning opportunities still available.

“The matric results are usually a double-edged sword. Some who might have been expecting the worst could well have been pleasantly surprised and might now find they may have set their sights too low and be confused about their options.

“And there are those who expected the best and did far worse than they should have. For both those who did better or worse than expected, now is the time to investigate options that they may not have thought of before. 

“Many of the public institutions are not accepting late applications. But many registered and accredited private higher education institutions are still open for applications including all of those that are part of The Independent Institute of Education (”

Dr Coughlan says there is also still time to investigate higher education study opportunities that learners might have neglected to look at while focusing on their examination preparation. “Many would-be students might not be aware of the broad reach of opportunities offered by private tertiary institutions. One of the routes, for example that of a Higher Certificate, offers new opportunities which might best suit some learners.

The certification route is not only increasingly accepted as a route into degree study the following year, but can be used as a means to an end or as a way to provide learners with strong work-related skills and a stronger academic foundation in a specific field of study.

Diploma study is a very viable option particularly for those that are clear about the vocational field they wish to pursue – many exciting fields such as Public Relations or Marketing or Design are best taught through Diplomas as these qualifications offer more practical training than usually found within a degree.”

She said it was critical that students did their homework thoroughly now – checking on the accreditation and registration of the institutions and the qualifications as well as on any professional endorsements associated with the qualifications. She warned that if this information was difficult to get from an institution, caution is recommended.

“There are several high quality options available and reputable institutions should be able to share their registration, accreditation and endorsement information without any hesitation.”

Article issued by the Independent Institute of Education


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