South Africa: International Literacy Day - We Must Address the Digital Divide in Education and Learning


Covid-19 has highlighted that access to learning opportunities is not evenly distributed. The move to online and distance learning has shone a spotlight on the divide between those who have connectivity, infrastructure and technical ability, and those who do not. In countries like South Africa, this divide is stark.

We can no longer talk about literacy and numeracy without also talking about digital literacy. Learners and adults of all ages need to be able to read and write proficiently as well as work effectively with numbers. But increasingly, they also need to be able to work on a computer and online if they are to succeed in their academic and professional lives. The Covid-19 pandemic has only made this need more apparent.

On 8 September, the world marks International Literacy Day. Founded by Unesco in 1966, International Literacy Day emphasises the importance of literacy for individuals, communities and societies, and the need for intensified efforts towards more literate societies.

This year's theme, "Literacy for a human-centred recovery: Narrowing the digital divide", speaks to the evolving understanding of literacy.

"The Covid-19 crisis," Unesco says, "has disrupted the learning of children, young people and adults at an unprecedented scale. It has also...

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