South Africa: The Global Pandemic Could Become an Opportunity to Build an Equitable, Inclusive Education System


The coronavirus pandemic created an unprecedented challenge for teaching and learning, but it may have done us some favours as well. The lockdown brought much-needed attention to the importance of connectivity and digital access. Inequality has been a persistent reality in South Africa. The past six months have forced us to confront this head on.

The Covid-19 pandemic has shone a particularly stark light on the realities of online learning. The NIDS-CRAM Wave 2 Report on education stated that "learners in the earlier grades had the least access at about 30%, while grade 12 learners had the highest at about 50%. At worst this means that about 75% of learners in the foundation phase had no access to online learning, while only half of grade 12 learners had access".

The lockdown brought much-needed attention to the importance of connectivity and digital access. Before the pandemic, the Unesco Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development reported that close to 3.7 billion people were not connected to the internet. According to the General Household Survey, only 10.4% of South African households have access to the internet. This means that during the hard lockdown, 89.6% of households did not have adequate access to online resources,...

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