Broadcast lessons important step to bridge education inequalities

Communications and digital technologies minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams has announced plans to broadcast school lessons on TV during the lockdown. Her announcement must be commended, the writer says.
Communications and digital technologies minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams has announced plans to broadcast school lessons on TV during the lockdown. Her announcement must be commended, the writer says.
Image: GCIS

The government's announcement of the closure of schools two weeks ago due to the national state of disaster indeed kicked off an important conversation about online education in SA.

Similarly, universities and TVET colleges were ordered to shut down until April 15 as the higher education department prepared some for online learning to mitigate against the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the sector.

Increasingly, schools and parents across the country have begun embracing the use of technology to augment and, in some cases, replace some traditional methods of teaching and learning.

This progression is in line with innovative developments across the world, particularly in times of global crises such as that which we currently face.

However, in SA these conversations mostly unfold in middle class communities and schools where access to technological infrastructure allows for innovation.

It is indisputable that the Covid-19 pandemic will change every aspect of our lives, with education among the most affected areas of societal development.

This is why the announcement yesterday by minister of communications and digital technologies Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams that the government will broadcast school lessons must be commended.

Briefing the media on her department's plans during the Covid-19 lockdown, Ndabeni-Abrahams said: "The SABC has availed a channel that will be dedicated to education, including identifying two studios where the broadcast of the virtual classrooms will be provided."

The plan will include recorded lessons and provide for some teachers to tackle various subjects live.

Such interventions are critical to meet our developmental priorities as a nation.

We therefore urge the government to ensure that children who live under conditions of poverty are given sufficient support, infrastructural and otherwise, to enable them to access quality education.

This is an important step to bridge education inequalities, which ultimately define every aspect of young lives in our country.

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