A lot has been debated about the challenges we’ve faced as a country as far as our education is concerned. From the challenges of access to better quality education, and a lack of infrastructure to mention but a few.
Perhaps a time has come that we open our minds to more innovative ways as part of the bigger resolution plans to these challenges, such as the exploitative use of Information Technology to our own advantage. As a suggestion, IT can help to enable access to quality education at even reduced costs in the following ways:
- Shared video lessons: We’ve had many counts of illicit videos being shared amongst pupils for all the wrong reasons. The same method can be used for the benefit of these kids, where registered teachers take 10 – 15 minutes video clips explaining certain subject matter concepts, and further uploading these educational videos to a central server which can be accessed worldwide by any child who is registered with the Basic Education Department for that particular Grade Subject, regardless of their race and socio-economic background.
- Remote class attendance: We’ve heard of cases where there is no infrastructure in some places. Even when infrastructure is made available, another issue of “lack of teachers” or “quality education” further presents more challenges. With IT though, children stuck somewhere in the Rural Eastern Cape without a teacher can be enabled to actively participate in a class taking place somewhere in Pretoria East or Stellenbosch through Information Technology, at even far cheaper costs than traditional ways of attending the same “quantile” schools.
- Establishing Online Schools: as IT advances, even now – the cost of building and maintaining school infrastructure, buying school uniform, travelling expenses, and inherent costs associated with education can be hugely reduced by use of technology – to access and benefit from the same quality education. For example: online schools can run 24/7; they are also not affected by sometimes irrelevant strikes which leave communities without schools, let alone nationwide teacher strikes which have led to many under-privileged children disadvantaged in the recent past.
These are but few of the various ways in which Information Technology (IT) can be applied towards the attainment of an equal quality education that is accessible to all. It is by no means to impose that IT is “thee gospel-truth” in this regard, but definitely can no longer be overlooked as a necessary and effective solution for our predicament in education.
Author: Baphiwe Nyeli is an IT professional with over 12 years of experience in the IT Industry, specializing as a Business Intelligence Specialist for the past 10 years in both the Public and Private Sector. He holds an Honor’s Degree in Information Technology (majoring in Data Communications & Computer Networks) from the Multimedia University in Malaysia –; currently pursuing an MBA with Milpark Business School.
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