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The ePortal: A Catalyst for Change
A Premier Gateway to Quality Resources

Information technology and the Internet are major drivers of research, innovation, growth and social change. The growth in Internet has brought changes in all walks of life including the education. eContent requires huge amounts of creativity both at 'information' level as well as the 'technology' level. [1]

Educational systems around the world is undergoing increasing pressure to use the new information and communication technology to acquaint learners with the knowledge and information, they require in this techno savvy era. To develop a knowledge society, it is essential to integrate ICT at all levels of education system.

In an eLearning environment, the learning process is more self-paced and self-motivated. This kind of experience is quite different from what learners might experience in traditional teaching and learning environments. Learners, on the one hand, have more control and flexibility in their learning, but on the other hand, they need to take more responsibility for their own learning.

To bring effectiveness in dissemination of information in this knowledge explosion society, development of creative contents and incorporation of innovative information and communication, technologies play a higher role at all levels of the education system. As both the traditional classroom learning and eLearning simultaneously offer strengths and suffer from limitations, it is only natural to combine the strengths of the two into blended learning. In this sense, it may be said that today the most natural form of learning is blended learning. [2]

eContent augments the learning experience by deploying various media for visualization and explanation of abstract ideas. Keeping in view the diverse needs of learners, the use of eContent has become an essential component of the teaching and learning processes. eContent is available in large numbers through various sources, but few of them are found to have the desired quality in terms of content, pedagogy as well as technical aspects. Coupled with plethora of smart and mobile devices, teacher and learner driven eContent are available in abundance in the market.[3]

Addressing the need for Quality eResources

In the pursuit of “working better, working smarter” in the Western Cape, ICTs play a decisive role. The vision and objective for e-Education[4] in the Western Cape is not divorced from social and economic development, but aims to structure systems and learning such that it supports its main and peripheral outcomes. Learners ought to exit a basic education system with relevant knowledge and skills, and be better prepared for higher education and the working environment, so that they may function as active citizens in the world that they find themselves in.

The innovative nature of the eLearning vision lends itself to critique, due to its evolutionary nature.

The eVision imagines a metamorphosis of traditional teaching, learning and environments into eTeaching and eLearning and virtual learning environments; an ever-increasing availability of digital resources and systems, and the emergence of new ways of educational engagement. This vision will thus propel the WCED into a new eLearning era.

The infusion of ICTs in the educational space sets up a series of chain reactions, of which the most prevalent of these is the pervasiveness of the push-pull effects, requiring a re-conceptualisation of the use of technologies to support education. Educational ICTs have become an exciting repertoire among other tools to support education in ways not possible before.

In 2010 Robert Hawkins wrote about 10 Global Trends in ICT and Education[5]. According to Hawkins these trends are expected to continue and challenge many of the delivery models fundamental to formal education. It is believed that Social learning should be added to this list.

The WCED eLearning Initiative[6] articulates the commitment made by the WCED to expand on its existing technology base and digital resources in order to create virtual learning environments at schools as a strategic priority.

eContent supporting the eVision

The WCED ePortal’s intent is to ensure a Digital Ecosystem that provides an entry point for citizens to access various WCED services through digital transformation.

During school closure the ePortal remained true to its vision of Content for the People: supplying (more) quality, relevant and local educational eResources as per curriculum standards and requirements to assist learners and teachers with curriculum delivery and coverage. An added complication was though classrooms were empty, schooling had to continue: schools were closed, but learning remained open.

The WCED ePortal stood the words of Seymour Papert: “You cannot teach people everything they need to know. The best you can do is position them where they can find what that need to know when they need to know it.” Irreversible change has been achieved with this implementation.

Paradigm Shifts

The innovation propelled the organisation in adopting new ways of doing, engaging, teaching and learning, and supporting schools. Individuals’ mind shifts were introduced by learning new things, seeing and doing new things, and teaching others new things.

21st Century Citizenry

Education officials, teachers and learners were exposed to working, learning and living as 21st Century Citizens. Being empowered with 21st Century skill sets, officials explored innovative ways in supporting and transforming schools to perform against the backdrop of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, leapfrogging education outcomes and output by creating new avenues for learning, teaching and assessing.

Digital Learning Platforms

Increased awareness of digitals platforms and tools has transformed the way people live, work and learn, leading to self-directed and life-long learning with remote learning as the enabler. Learners and teachers are comfortable with hybrid and blended learning models (any combination of off-line, on-line, at home, at school, printed and digital methods) leading to increased learner retention and throughput.


Working partnerships were formed with private service providers, NGOs, and others offering resources at no cost to schools. This culture of sharing nurtured by the web of collaborators illustrates ubuntu principles, WOSA (Whole Of Society Approach), and Government’s aim to strengthen public-private partnerships.

Become part of the growing number of content creators, collaborators and advocateurs. It is indeed an exciting time in education to be alive!


[1] Need of e-content development in Education

[2] e­Content: An Effective Tool For Blended Learning

[3] Guidelines for Development of eContent for School Education Version 1.0

[4] WCED vision for e-Education: e-Learning and e-Teaching in schools of the future (August 2012)

[5] 10 Global Trends in ICT and Education


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