PC Training and Business College launched its R100 million, first-ever learning initiative which is set to revolutionize and enhance learners’ learning experience and the education process in South Africa. Up to 23 000 Telefunken Tablet PCs will be made available to learners registering for Higher and Further Education (vocational) qualifications for FREE when they enroll with the College for 2012. These education enhancing tools will be made available in January across all 70 of PC Training and Business College's campuses Nationally. This means that every learner who registers at the College for a full qualification will receive their very own Tablet PC at no additional cost as part of their learning programme and experience at this privately owned tertiary Institution.
According to PC Training and Business College CEO, Jay Ramnundlall, “intensive research was conducted by the Institutions MIS Department to source the best TABLET”, hence their specifications to manufacturers was to provide learners with a more user friendly and responsive tablet having a 10.1 inch capacitative screen, that will enrich the learning experience of its learners. PC Training and Business College has partnered with Telefunken in an innovative approach in supplying all learners with the latest Telefunken Tablet PC and accompanying connectivity. The year 2011/2 carries the highest cost burden to the Institution as all learners will have to be issued with their Tablet PCs which is covered with a two year factory warranty, the first year being a swop out and the second year being a repair warranty. While the Institution is providing learners with a Tablet PC free of charge this has not influenced its pricing structure. The Institution’s fee structure is very affordable with an average of cost of R15 000 per year, having only increased by a mere 7% from the previous year.
Picture: Telefunken Tablet PC
“There hasn’t even been a dramatic increase in tuition fees as a result of the additional Tablet PCs”, said PC Training and Business College’s Deputy CEO, Muni Kooblal, adding “The Institution’s fee structure is very affordable with an average of cost of R15 000, having only increased by a mere 7% from the previous year.” Kooblal stated that this was despite the retail price of the Telefunken Tablet PC being approximately R3700 per device. “Our Institution out of its own Financial Resources has committed to in excess of R50, 4 million for the acquisition of the Tablet PCs in the 2011/2012 academic year. As part of our strategic plan, we will continue to order the Tablet PCs in the ensuing years having a capital infrastructural and support costs of R100 million over a 4 year period”, Kooblal confirmed. According to the Deputy CEO, PC Training and Business College anticipates recovering this expenditure from increased learner enrolment as a direct result of this initiative, as well as cost savings from no longer printing learning materials, excellent financial performance and increasing the use of their e-library infrastructure.
In a move inspired by the Indian government's 'Akash' initiative, which had seen the Indian Government subsidize their national tertiary Institutions by providing learners with electronic handheld technology to enhance their learning experience, PC Training and Business College has taken the same bold step, and one further. The College is funding this initiative financially unassisted by their own national government and is introducing a more expensive but technologically superior version of the Android Tablet PC to its learners. PC Training and Business College's CEO, Jay Ramnundlall, stated that he was aware that there had been many universities locally and abroad that had investigated similar products and ways to improve learners’ educational experiences, but he didn’t know of any that had put their “money where their mouth was” and actually made a similar commitment of this magnitude. Ramnundlall proceeded to emphasize that improving access and success through quality teaching and learning is only strengthened through the use of technology such as Tablet PCs, and it’s for this reason that the Institution chose to sacrifice profits with a view to take leadership in improving the quality of education.
With an increasing number of learners entering Higher Education, PC Training and Business College is seeking to provide a more dynamic and interactive classroom experience. This new technology significantly changes the way learners and lecturers interact. It adds a completely new dimension to classroom interaction. Learners will have all their learning material preloaded and available in one easily searchable place. All of the money that learners have been spending on pens, pencils, highlighters, notepads, papers, binders, folders, staples, and paperclips, stay in their pocket. Much of the need for paper supplies and writing utensils is eliminated. The Tablet PC's compact, convertible design allows learners to comfortably make use of the device in small spaces even while standing up. Tablet PCs also include wireless Internet Support, a headset, cover case and a long battery life and a battery life of up to 6-8 hours depending on usage. Learners can quickly jot down notes from mathematical formulae to flow charts because they're electronic, learners can re-organize their notes and search them later.
Ramnundlall, explained PC Training and Business Colleges’ decision to invest R100 million in this innovative and technologically advanced device, "We did a lot of homework on what the best tablet would be for learners to use to ultimately improve their learning experience even further and open them up to even more educational opportunities through this device than has ever been seen in South Africa. Unlike the Akash and several other Tablet PC brands, including the iPad and Samsung Galaxy Tabs, we found the Telefunken Tablet PC offered learners a big enough screen to effectively view study material and allowed them to access all the necessary applications required for study purposes. The problem with the Akash and other investigated tablets was that the 7 inch device was not big enough for learners to read a page at a time. Hence our specifications to manufacturers to provide us with a more user friendly and responsive tablet having a 10.1 inch capacitative screen."
Picture: Telefunken Tablet PC Specifications
Apart from the Tablet PC being lightweight, portable and allowing learners to study learning material for their relevant qualifications wherever and whenever it suits them, there are a multitude of other major benefits to learners receiving these Tablet PCs as learning tools. Each Tablet PC received by registered learners at PC Training and Business College will include preloaded, relevant learning material for each learner's course. This includes global podcasts of experts' opinions on pertinent subjects; online entry to the Integrated Campus Administration System and e-library for assignments, accounts information and exam results. Through the Tablet PC learners will also have access to real-time interactive learning experiences with lecturers and fellow learners through webinars and chat rooms locally and around the world; access to the latest Android Tablet PC and FREE learning programmes as part of learners' programme offering and introduction to and enhancement of learners e-skills. Higher Education learners will also have the added advantage of accessing e–libraries irrespective of where they are, empowering them to draw from a wider range of research material from all over the world. Finally, the Tablet PC will create a 'green' culture that will benefit the environment by encouraging learners and educators to move away from the exorbitant use of paper and printing.
When the Deputy Minister of Higher Education & Training, Professor Hlengiwe Mkhize, was informed about the initiative she was extremely positive about the situation, saying, "This exciting and ground-breaking initiative will lead to the improvement of teaching and learning and learner success rates. Also the capacity for research will improve significantly with access to the e-libraries that the Institution has made available to its learners. Hopefully PC Training and Business College will prove to be a shining example to other South African Institutions about the countless possibilities of engaging learners in a new, innovative and technologically progressive way."
And with the Deputy Minister of Higher Education’s backing, PC Training and Business College has opted to raise the bar even further, by offering their learners world class IT Infrastructure on all of their campuses nationwide. All 70 campuses will offer learners free Wi-Fi and campuses will be linked up digitally with a dedicated link up to the main campus, allowing learners unlimited access to data. Charging bays for learners' Tablet PCs will also be available on campus should the eight hour battery life on their new study tools be low. PC Training and Business College views this initiative as a milestone in improving the quality and standard of education as it believes that the Tablet PC in the hands of its learners won’t only improve teaching and learning but will also serve to enlighten communities and families when learners engage these devices in their own homes and semi-rural communities. All these initiatives are just part of PC Training and Business College's ambitions to become the leaders in education, particularly in the IT and Business sectors.
Picture: Jay Ramnundlall (CEO of PC Training and Business College) discussing the Tablet PC initiative, prior to the launch, with Professor Hlengiwe Mkhize (Deputy Minister of Higher Education) at a recent ANC Progressive Business Forum pre-Centenary Celebration Dinner.
Tablets are currently the most well-known and sought after technological devices and are in huge demand, not just for the ordinary consumer but also for every aspiring learner. These innovative devices have created a platform for modern communication and combines access to all manner of resources in one convenient, always connected device. According to Molly Ramnundlall, Senior Director Institutional Support, Marketing & Community Engagement of PC Training and Business College, "It cannot be underestimated as to just how much this initiative by PC Training and Business College revolutionizes private education, the utilization of modern technology by young South African learners and makes a valuable contribution to the growth of both the Educational and ICT sectors."
And to raise the bar even further, PC Training and Business College will also be offering learners world class IT Infrastructure on all of their campuses nationwide. All 70 campuses will offer learners free WI-FI and campuses will be linked up digitally with a dedicated link up to the main campus, allowing learners unlimited access to data. Charging bays for learners' Tablet PCs will also be available on campus should the battery life on their new study tools be low. PC Training and Business College views this initiative as a milestone in improving the quality and standard of education as it believes that the Tablet PC in the hands of its learners won’t only improve teaching and learning but will also serve to enlighten communities and families when learners engage these devices in their own homes and semi-rural communities. All these initiatives are just part of PC Training and Business College's ambitions to become the leaders in education, particularly in the IT and Business sectors.
PC Training & Business College (Pty) Ltd is registered with the Department of Higher Education as a Private Higher Education Institution under the Higher Education Act, 1997 (Registration Certificate No. 2000/HE07/0008) and is also registered with the Department of Higher Education and Training as an Employment and Skills Development Agency (ESDA) under the Skills Development Act, 2007 (Registration Certificate No.00073).
In summary, PC Training and Business College are changing the annals of education history in South Africa by introducing the infrastructure to accommodate a highly customized application with a wide range of software applications that will make the delivery of courses and related content even more accessible and enjoyable for learners. Tablets are currently the most well-known and sought after technological devices and are in huge demand, not just for the ordinary consumer but also for every aspiring learner. These innovative devices have created a platform for modern communication and combines access to all manner of resources in one convenient, always connected device.