South Africa - Cape Town - 15 April 2019 - Nadine Maselesele and her group, The Dream Factory, has donated 20 computers to Salt River Secondary School. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency(ANA)
South Africa - Cape Town - 15 April 2019 - Nadine Maselesele and her group, The Dream Factory, has donated 20 computers to Salt River Secondary School. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency(ANA)

There’s new exciting ways to learn, but are all people learning?

By Brian Isaacs Time of article published Jun 25, 2021

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I have always believed that no matter where you find yourself in the world rich or poor you must always be open to new ways of learning. Not doing so leaves you on the back foot and prevents you from participating in the debate of what knowledge is most worth which from the dawn of humankind we have been grappling with.

Covid-19 in 2020 and 2021 has exposed in the schools of this nation and many other countries the backlog we have in technology in the schools of the poor. In the schools of the poor (which are the majority of our schools), we might have basic access to technology such as one computer laboratory which can accommodate a class of 30 students at a time in a school of 1000 learners (I am compelled to use the term learners which I dislike profusely) and hopefully teachers who have access to their own laptops.

I well remember in 1977 when I used a manual overhead projector with transparency, some of the experienced teachers peered into my classroom as if I was performing some magic.

In the 1980s the school I was teaching at received a Commodore 124 and 40 Commodore 64s.

Two teachers had to attend a year’s course in operating these computers. Later on, the school received IBM computers from its alumni in Canada. The Western Cape Education Department, and here I must congratulate the department, initiated the Khanya Project (meaning light) which saw in the late 1990s and 2000s computers introduced into most schools in the Western Cape. It also initiated a programme where schools were linked up to schools in Great Britain. To this day many schools have retained this relationship.

Unfortunately, as with many programmes initiated by the WCED, this Khanya project was terminated in the early 2010s and many personnel who had been appointed had to be retrenched due to a lack of funding (as alleged by WCED).

So instead of WCED extending its programme of digitising education, it curbed this important essential programme. A programme that could have assisted schools in poor areas tremendously during this Covid-19 period.

Many organisations (private and public) could discuss matters during virtual discussions and allow decisions to be taken.

The problem with learners who are at home learning virtually is that virtual meetings are expensive and parents are not able to afford the virtual meetings. Students have to collect homework from school and submit it in person to schools. The learning process, therefore, takes longer.

Most workers in the country have returned to work because workers have to work in order to raise money for their homes, food and children. Students go to school so as to receive an education so that they can move to the next grade.

The Grade 12s work to move to tertiary institutions of study or qualify to obtain a job.

Since March 2020, the science on dealing with the Covid- 19 pandemic has evolved. Vaccines have been recommended by most scientists for adults so that the virus can be diminished.

Obviously, we must take the necessary precautions to protect ourselves against the coronavirus but we now know more about how to protect ourselves but we must also make adjustments to our life so that we progress in life.

* Brian Isaacs obtained a BSc (UWC) in 1975, a Secondary Teacher’s Diploma in 1976, BEd (UWC) in 1981, and MEd (UWC) in 1992. He is a former matriculant, teacher and principal at South Peninsula High School.

** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.

Cape Argus

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