The Motsepe Foundation has donated R300,000 towards information and communication technology (ICT) equipment to 27 schools across Soweto.
Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga was joined by Gauteng MEC Panyaza Lesufi at the Regina Mundi Catholic Church on Thursday, where she welcomed the donation.
Speaking at the event, which was also attended by church congregants, Motshekga said the department had been calling for social partnerships to assist with easing infrastructure resource constraints in areas such as Soweto.
The founder and chairman of the Motsepe Foundation, Patrice Motsepe, as well as his wife and co-founder, Precious Moloi-Motsepe, were not present during the handover.
They had to go into isolation after being in contact with a person who tested positive for Covid-19.
Motshekga said partnerships with organisations, such as the Motsepe Foundation, were significant in allowing the department to envision a brighter future for underprivileged pupils across Soweto and beyond.
The minister said investing in ICT in the schooling year was important and it would be effective in recovering from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
She said ICT was the new gold of the education sector.
Motshekga said it would take a huge effort for the sector to fully recover from the pandemic because a large part of the 2020 academic year was lost.
“We are pleased that our partnership with the Motsepe Foundation will make a significant impact on the quality of education that our learners receive in public schooling.
“The Motsepe Foundation’s intervention is critical for the improvement of quality education in all these schools,” she said.
She said the 27 schools deserved the support from the foundation because they exist in underserviced communities.
She added that the government was aware of the large backlogs in the provision of significant infrastructure to schools from disadvantaged communities.
At least 240 religious organisations – churches, temples and mosques – also received donations from the foundation.
The minister said the government was doing all it could to improve teaching and learning outcomes in underprivileged schools, making reference to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement in Parliament that, post Covid-19, the sector’s administrative burden would be eased with 300 000 job opportunities for young people to be employed as assistants at schools.
Motshekga said more than 40 000 vulnerable teaching posts in fee-paying public schools were being secured through financial support because they recorded a lower income from school fees than expected.
“Our commitment to saving these vulnerable teaching posts is originally a proposal from one of our social partners. Our commitment to saving these vulnerable teaching posts is thus a testament that we are in this together.
“My plea is that we should work together today, tomorrow and beyond the Covid-19 pandemic. Our country needs us. Our country values us,” the minister said.