Zero-rated education websites, longer school days are a few changes that can be made to fix the education system. Photo: Rays of Hope Education.
Zero-rated education websites, longer school days are a few changes that can be made to fix the education system. Photo: Rays of Hope Education.

A teacher’s take on how to fix the broken education system

By Zodidi Dano Time of article published Oct 13, 2021

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Network providers should make educational websites zero-rated, and school days should be extended from 8am to 4pm to allow learners and teachers in public schools to make up for the lost teaching time caused by the pandemic.

These are just a few of the suggestions Bafana Mohale, an education manager at Rays of Hope, has in order for the country’s “broken” education system to be fixed.

The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has caused an even greater educational divide between affluent schools and the general public schools. This is due to disparities which include poor access to resources such as technology devices, data and also limit in infrastructural space to accommodate all learners while keeping to the social distancing protocols.

“This means that classrooms are no longer teaching spaces. They’re compliance environments,” said Mohale.

The education manager said even though parents may have smartphones that could be used to connect to online classes, parents are at work – with their phones – during the day when synchronous online learning takes place.

He adds that data is expensive, and while platforms like Google Classroom and Microsoft Teams may be free to access, they still use data – and a lot of it when sharing videos.

“I challenge the network operators and internet service providers, who literally, have the power at their fingertips to open all the educational possibilities of the online world to help our township children overcome the obstacles placed in their path by zero-rating education websites, and even platforms like YouTube, where so much content lives,” he said.

Another suggestion was for schools days to be extended from 8am to 4pm each day, including a strong after school programme that offers food and transport. In addition, schools’ curricula to be expanded into more vocational subjects, as well as the arts, to ensure that there are learning options for children with different talents and interests.

The Master’s Degree in education holder suggested that changes be made in the Early Child Development (ECD) sector as well so that learners are given a solid foundation.

“We need to make sure that we have quality teaching in response to clear goals, including learning English. While mother tongue instruction is a wonderful idea, our children hit a major bump in the road when they get to Grade 4. Up to that point, they’ve been learning everything in their mother tongue, but suddenly they must re-learn it in a new language – while learning the language from scratch. It’s a recipe for disaster,” he said.

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