Over 100 smart boards stolen from Gauteng schools

A Gauteng school equipped with a smart board.

A Gauteng school equipped with a smart board.

Despite concerted security efforts, the Gauteng Department of Education (GDE) can't shake off the continued theft of smart boards installed in the province's township schools.

Since the introduction of the "paperless classroom" initiative, which encourages the switch from chalkboards to smart boards, theft has been a major stumbling block for the GDE.

The provincial education department revealed to ITWeb that since 2016 to date, 111 smart boards have been stolen in the province.

The interactive smart boards are a hot commodity for thieves as they stand to profit from the sale of these devices that can cost anything up to R20 000 each.

MEC Panyaza Lesufi previously stated that some criminals in the communities where smart classrooms have been introduced set up a syndicate to steal the smart boards.

Although measures to safeguard these devices have been increased, thieves still find a way to hamper the GDE's ICT in education drive.

According to the department, all devices that are distributed to schools are installed with a tracker.

"The department has mobilised communities to protect the assets of schools. According to our SLA ? the tracking service providers will replace stolen smart boards at their own costs for the next acquisition. The department is also branding the devices for easy identity as government property."

The GDE is determined to provide an ICT-focused education system in the Gauteng province and encourage skills development.

As a result, the department has equipped schools with interactive smart boards, as well as providing high-speed broadband connectivity, laptops for teachers and tablets for learners.

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