The spread of the coronavirus and the South Africa’s lockdown has had a huge impact on children’s education. Schools have been closed and we don’t know when they will be opened again. The provincial education departments are asking for children to continue learning using “online learning”, “e-learning” and “e-teaching”. This means they need to have computers and data to go online to continue learning which.
Mmabore Mogashoa from GaMogashoa, Sekhukhune writes that,
I was speaking to a friend of mine from Gauteng about the lockdown and she mentioned something about schoolwork. Her children are getting schoolwork for a week and submit through Whatsapp. My concern is children who attend school in the villages or public schools. Some don’t even have phones and the last time they spoke to their educators was on 17 March 2020 when the schools closed because of the Corona Virus. What is it done to make sure that children will have good marks at the end of the year?
Susan Moraba from Emalahleni reported her experience:
Where my child attends, they circulated newsletters to parents notifying them that they should provide their children with smartphone, laptops or computers and internet in order for them to be able to continue with their studies. This happened after the long weekend of good Friday. They also urged parents to continue paying school fees as they depend on it for salaries, school maintenance etc. This is a problem. What about the costs of the internet and those who doesn’t have smart phones or any means of getting involved?
The problem with online education is that as a parent you are also learning with your child because you need to be with him or her throughout the lessons so that you can assist after lessons with homework given. A lot of time is wasted as a parent because you can’t do your daily routine chores and all has to wait for weekend and as we put our children’s education first.
While some schools have been sending lessons through the internet, others schools have not communicated anything with their learners.
Susan Moraba describes:
I am very sad with public school learners who are not doing anything. My grade 8 child is learning online from an independent school. They communicated with parents and I am part of that as he learns, even though it’s not easy. My other family members’ children who attend at public school doing Grade 5,6,7 and 10 are not on online studying and they have heard nothing from their teachers. The Grade 10 learner wishes he had a study group or a smart phone to connect with other learners from private or independent schools so that he can catch up and that unfortunately is not happening.
He said even if he takes his books and study on his own he is struggling because other work is new and it needs some guidance and lessons. So he feels frustrated when he thinks about studying. My son on the other side enjoys studying at home but he doesn’t see the pain and how worried I am about the cost of data.
Mmathapelo Thobejane from Ditwebeleng village shares her concerns:
I am very worried about the future of my kids and younger siblings. There has been no communication whatsoever from the principal or the teachers on ways our kids can learn sitting at home unlike other children who are for example doing online learning.
The most devastating fact is the fact that our kids will not be having any online lessons because of the poor background they come from and the lack of resources from the public school’s side.
Our country can do more to ensure that all children access education right now. Television and radio could be used to share lessons. Books and printed lessons could be distributed through spaza and grocery shops. Data also can be made accessible to learners.
Mmathapelo Thobejane writes that,
I would suggest that the government offer our kids in public schools tablets and data. If they can hand R350 out to non-working South Africans why is it so hard to provide the future holders of SA with resources to further their education.