“Over two decades after the end of apartheid, a vast gulf remains between the experiences of South Africa’s white students and black students…”
The legacy of Apartheid, its racial segregation and the immense suffering it brought to South Africans, has had a deep and complex effect on education in the country. The townships established and enforced by the regime brought systemic neglect, denying their inhabitants decent water, sewage, road, and school systems.
In the words of Panyaza Lesufi, Member of the Executive Council (MEC) for Education in Gauteng Province:
“a large portion of our population were deliberately left out of the mainstream of education.”
The repercussions of this great injustice continue to affect the neglected communities, whose schools struggle to attract and keep students. Dropout rates are high, and learners have long lacked tools to overcome the digital divide.
Lesufi has made it his life’s mission to lead Gauteng schools to overcome these challenges. Committed to improving the lives of students at township schools, Lesufi formed an initiative based on proven development strategies from around the world.
This initiative, “Wired for Life” is built on the principle of “One teacher, one laptop. One tablet, one student. One classroom, one SMART Board”. Its goal is to unlock better opportunities for the children of the area, enabling meaningful, sustainable careers that will allow them to thrive in the global economy. According to Lesufi, collaboration, critical thinking, and innovation are driving the fourth industrial revolution, and it is vital that Gauteng students develop these skills.
One of the fundamental principles of the Wired for Life initiative is sustainability. By incorporating strategies and technologies that can adapt to wide-ranging challenges, and then support schools as they grow past those obstacles, Lesufi is creating the conditions for lasting change. He has chosen to make SMART a foundational part of his technology plan because our solution is purpose-built to help develop 21st-century skills in students, and because it offers the longevity, security, and versatility Gauteng classrooms need.
As the initiative progresses, teachers have renewed optimism, and students are envisioning successful futures in a global economy.
“I feel excited. I want to explore the world. I want to go far, and help people.”
When our video production team visited Gauteng to meet Lesufi and witness the initiative’s effects on classrooms, they were profoundly inspired by the engagement of the students. Watching the students become invigorated as they engaged in learning games and interactive lessons left a deep impression.
“Seeing the kids light up when the teacher started a SMART lab activity is something I’ll never forget. I mean, it’s why we do what we do…to see a whole classroom become energized like that.”
– Lucas McConnell, SMART Digital Experience Team Lead
The dreams and ambitions of children in Gauteng province are growing, as they envision personal successes and fulfillment scarcely imaginable a generation ago. We are thrilled to be a part of their incredible journey.
Learn more about the SMART solution that helps make Wired for Life a reality, here.