Covid-19 has exposed lack of digital resources in most SA schools, says Ramaphosa
Johannesburg - President Cyril Ramaphosa said the coronavirus pandemic has exposed a lack of digital resources in most South African schools and urged public and private sectors to play a pivotal role in ensuring the majority of learners have access to data.
He addressed the annual education lekgotla on Thursday with the theme “Equipping learners with knowledge and skills for a changing world”.
“The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the digital divide in society, particularly with regards to the adoption of technologies for learning and teaching. It underscores the need to intensify efforts to ensure connectivity and equitable access to data.”
Ramaphosa called for stronger public-private partnerships to ensure “that we mobilise the necessary resources to help our learners”. The president said one of the key focus areas of the economic reconstruction and recovery plan was boosting education and skills development. He said schools had to teach the skills that would support the growth of the economy and enable financial inclusion.
“We don’t want an economic recovery that only benefits some people. It must benefit all. The higher education sector recently raised concerns about the large numbers of learners in subjects for which there is less demand in the economy.
“This challenge begins in the early years. Firstly, with subject choices that limit future opportunities for learners, and, secondly, with the poor performance of learners in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (Stem) fields.”
Ramaphosa said equipping learners with the knowledge and skills for a changing world necessitated a relook at these critical subjects and the curriculum in general.
“As we review the matric results, one of the prominent indicators of quality is how the country is doing in these Stem subjects. If we are to seize the opportunities of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, our education system must be reoriented towards its development in our country.
“Studies show that the country lags behind in the information technology skills needed for the digital revolution.”