According to Communications Minister, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, every South African learner – from grade R (pre – primary) to 12 in basic education, and students in higher education – will get a free, government-supplied e-mail address.
The minister who was speaking at a conference co-hosted by Naspers and the department of communications & digital technologies saying that various state-owned enterprises will work together to provide the solution.
While email addresses are freely available across a host of platforms for use on the internet, the minister’s comments perhaps provide insight into the goals they have for the system:
“They (school pupils) will get an address when they start grade R. This should allow us to track and trace them (the pupils) and ask, ‘What are they doing?”
– Minister, Communications, South Africa
According to the Minister, the government does not currently have insight into why pupils drop out of the basic education system. Under the plan, the emails will remain with the students even after school and they will be using it to apply to jobs and other things.
This initiative will be partly funded by the state and will prioritize Grade 11 and 12 school pupils at the start but will be fully implemented by the 2024 / 2025 financial year.
In addition, the government is looking to offer an allocation of 10GB of data per month free of charge to every household, whether rich or poor, whether employed or not.
The 10GB of data per month will be accessible without fail.
“Data has become a new utility, like water and electricity.” – Minister, Communications, South Africa