For over a month now, government officials have been harping on about how educational institutions need to embrace eLearning and the criticism fired back at them is whether they have incapacitated schools to conduct learning using these methods.
The government has finally taken a step towards addressing the issue of access – announcing that radio lessons will be coming back to the airwaves in the near future.
Secretary for Primary and Secondary Education Mrs Thumisang Thabela made the announcement yesterday and shared that the emergency modules will be used for at least 6 months. The modules will include online content, radio and television lessons.
Media coverage seems to suggest radio lessons will be the first to get rolled out with the other mediums to follow in the “near future”.
We understood that if we are not careful, children will retrogress to the point that if they return to classrooms, we will be starting from two years back.Mrs Thumisang Thabela – Secretary for Primary and Secondary Education
The first phase of the program will see primary education content come to the airwaves whilst the High school content is being prepared.
The following subjects will be covered for Primary education:
- Indigenous Languages
- Science & Technology
- Heritage Studies
Content will be delivered on these stations in a variety of languages in order to ensure students from different regions and backgrounds will be catered for.
The radio lessons will continue being a part of the Education curriculum post-Coronavirus. Mrs Thabela also revealed that the Ministry of Education would be applying for a radio licence so that they can have a dedicated channel to flight educational content – which sounds like a brilliant idea.
The biggest hurdle when it comes to elearning has simply been the fact that many don’t have the resources to access content online i.e smartphones, laptops and internet access.
Broadening the platforms carrying educational content to include radio and television reduces the number of students without access significantly.
Radio is a great way of bringing lessons to our learners because even feature phones with unsophisticated technology can be used to access radio content. We are aware we are not covering the whole country yet, but we are working hard to ensure there is widened reach in radio frequencies.Nick Mangwana – Perm Sec for Ministry of Information
The issue of access
Whilst adopting platforms like radio is a great a place to start it still doesn’t cover every single student and the government has said that those without access to radios and TV will get printed learning material.
Ultimately the issue of access will continue being the biggest discussion point. With the content being delivered via these different formats government will have to ensure that all students from those with only access to hard copy documents to those learning online are ultimately getting the same quality of education.
That will be hard when you consider the difference between video and hard copy but those are the problems officials the world over have to solve.
The one concern I have right now is the lack of solid dates. We’ve heard the government make announcements and not follow them up many times before and if the government is already done compiling the information then why not also give a date for when they will be rolling this out? If not an exact date then just a provisional date for the public to hold them accountable to.
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