3 steps South Africa needs to take in fighting digital inequalities in e-learningIt is known that South Africa still has a long way to go in building a strong economy. But one thing that can help create a better South Africa is schooling, and currently, it isn’t made a priority. Proper schooling - which can be defined as access to quality infrastructure, a conducive learning environment and reliable staff - can play a fundamental role in society. It equips the youth with the necessary skills to become a part of the labour market, and inevitably boost the economy. Schooling in South Africa has suffered from historical inequalities due to the Apartheid regime. A large population doesn’t have the adequate skill set to grow in the South African market due to language barriers and lack of school infrastructure. As the COVID-19 pandemic plagues South Africa, students all through the country have been forced to stay at home and look into online learning opportunities. Although e-learning in South Africa can bring about a lot of advantages such as; bridging the digital divide in education, equipping the youth with digital literacy, and offers convenience and flexibility, a large number of students won’t be able to have access to digital education. The reason being, they come from previously disadvantaged backgrounds and do not have the freedom of modern luxuries. South Africa is known for having one of the highest data prices in the continent, and this continues to widen the gap and create digital inequality in South Africa. To tackle and address digital inequalities in e-learning, here are three steps that need to be taken.
Equip teaches with digital skillsOne of the challenges of e-learning is that teachers and parents do not have the necessary skill set to help learners online. To overcome this challenge, teachers need to be equipped with the necessary digital tools and skills to help their students work on tasks and complete the curriculum. Teachers need to know the following:
- Basic computer literacy.
- Teachers should be able to evaluate sources of information and determine reputable websites from dangerous, biased and untrustworthy sites.
- They should be able to guide students on how to evaluate sources.
- Teachers should know how to critically find tools that will be beneficial to the learning experience for their pupils.