As the Gauteng Department of Education is planning to turn every school in the province into a textbook-free zone, there are real concerns that the country isn’t quite up to the challenge. Via Afrika, one of South Africa’s oldest established textbook publishers which recently made the leap in to CAPS-aligned elearning fiels has just published its ‘Snapshot of eLearning in South African schools’ study. In the report, it says that only 32% of teachers in 2011 had been trained in basic computer skills and ICT.
If schools want to go textbook-free by using tablets, they’re going to need electricity to charge them, and that poses another problem. Only 73% of the schools in KwaZulu Natal have electricity, for example, and even in the four best connected provinces one in ten schools is still without power.
While all provinces make use of DVDs as an educational tool, only five use PDF-reading books, while four provinces make use of app, enhanced text books and assessment software – only one province uses webinars.
To better the seemingly unfolding crisis in the education department, Via Afrika has supplied three schools in rural Mpumalanga, Limpopo and Free State with Digital Education Centres.
“The Via Afrika Digital Education Centres are container libraries that, in addition to your usual books and other educational material, come equipped with 15 tablets loaded with educational materials that have been developed by Via Afrika. In addition to that, we’ve supplied free wifi for these centres and are providing ongoing training to their school teachers in order to maximise the educational returns of these tablets for learners,” said Christina Watson, CEO at Via Afrika in a press statement.
Watson added that the study, which will be annualised, is an effective tool to plot the sentiment towards ICT in education.
“We have become aware of a shift in learning and teaching materials from printed to digital materials. But we are also aware of how much difference in opinion seems to exist about the readiness of South Africa for eLearning. In keeping with our belief that it is critical to provide the right learning and teaching materials to teachers and learners at all times, we embarked on research into the current situation with regard to digital education in South Africa.”
Helpfully, Via Africa also summarised its findings as a series of infographics
, below.[Source – Via Afrika]