About 350 parents of pupils from Masana Secondary School in Dwarsloop, Bushbuckridge, unanimously resolved at a meeting last Friday that the digital devices be returned to the school immediately because the children were “misusing” them.
The Mpumalanga education department distributed 55,000 tablets to grade 12 pupils at a cost of R535m in April in a bid to improve academic performance.
The tablets contain past question papers and study material to help pupils prepare for tests and exams.
At least R120m of the R535m spent on the tablets had been earmarked for “top-up” textbooks that pupils desperately need.
Margaret Ngomane, a member of the governing body at Masana Secondary, said parents were upset after 246 of 370 pupils failed the June exams.
An excerpt from the minutes of the meeting read: “The parents requested that the school keeps the tablets so that this does not have a negative effect on learners while preparing for the exams.”
Ngomane said some parents indicated that their children got to sleep at 4am after using the tablets to access social media and porn sites. “They said please take those tablets because our children are going to fail.”
She said a teacher complained that after asking pupils to use their tablets to complete work, he came across a pupil in class watching pornography. “I will be reminding the principal on Monday to talk to the teachers to agree on a date for collecting the tablets.”
Mpumalanga education department
spokesperson Jasper Zwane said the issue of parents wanting their children to return the tablets to the school had not been brought to their attention.
He said the grade 12 pupils were ready for the trial exams “as most schools have covered the content”.
However, Zwane did not respond to questions about why the department had not blocked access to certain sites on the tablets.
Meanwhile, provincial education departments have embarked on several initiatives to prepare pupils for the preliminary exams.
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