The Covid-19 exposed curriculum and content delivery design in rural South Africa
| Masweneng Mokolwane Eric - 16 Apr 2022

To understand the curriculum and content delivery design in South Africa, we should bear in mind that our education system comes out of a divided and unequal past. This has had a long-lasting impact in rural schools where growth and digital development is very slow not to mention infrastructure development. This will help us understand the conditions of our classrooms where Wi-Fi connectivity to broadband, digital projector, whiteboard, and other digital teaching aids is still a dream. Through this background knowledge, we will comprehend the level of rural educators with digital skills and competencies as well as those without. As such, only a few learners have access to digital tools and this hurts their education. There is a serious lack of technological tools and limited access to the internet in South Africa such that internet access is only meant for the privileged, those who can afford a home computer, fixed broadband, or smartphone to mention a few. Access to internet data is expensive in such a way that learners cannot afford it. In other words “Digital divide” reflects that the Covid-19 pandemic has exposed curriculum and content delivery design in rural South Africa negatively. The fourth Industrial Revolution has brought about a new pedagogy design with emphasis on ‘design thinking and innovative teaching and learning practice in and out of the classroom setting.
 The outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic has hurt the education fraternity worldwide. It has brought about the functional day-to-day routine of learning and teaching to a halt which exposed the lack of implementation and utilization of technological tools in rural schools. This has exposed the lack of preparedness of our institutions and our education policies. Most governments across the globe had to temporarily close educational institutions in an attempt to flatten the curve of the pandemic. According to UNESCO, the nationwide closure of schools during the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted over 888 million children who were out of school because of the Covid-19 closure affecting the most vulnerable learners negatively. We are all aware that the implementation of social distancing has led to the indefinite closure of schools which in some ways has led to partial curriculum disruptions, whereas in certain areas meant a complete shutdown because learning demanded a complete turnaround as e-learning became the only way. E-learning became a strategic way to open opportunities for learners and teachers to exercise their digital skills as learning demanded to be carried out virtually through technological tools. This has brought about inequalities that exist within the education fraternity between the “Haves” and “the have nots”. It has brought about a new Pedagogy design that most educators and learners were not prepared for.   This has ultimately exposed how the ICT policy favors the elite and marginalizes the poorest of the poor in rural South Africa. It has also brought about a paradigm shift in curriculum transformation and reform globally. This paradigm shift exposed the difference between rural and urban learners because of the lack of basic amenities and technology tools. Subsequently, it has brought about a technology learning design where access is not equitable because not every teacher is technologically savvy, and not every learner has access to technological resources.
 This has been quite a frustrating time for teachers and learners because only those with basic ICT skills had to ensure that they keep in touch with learners and to make sure that they were not left out in the cold. An average percentage of educators were able to teach learners remotely through Microsoft Teams, Google Classroom, WhatsApp, and Skype to mention a few. These teachers have transitioned from the traditional approach into a “blended approach” in which education delivery design takes place through the use of electronic equipment and online media coupled with traditional face-to-face methodology.
  It is without a doubt that teaching remains one of the most important professions in the world that produces all. Globally, educators are the pillars of community development. Teaching remains a sacred profession that produces all. As such, ICT policy design remains concrete only on the shelves within the department offices and this is a clear indication of a fundamental lack of implementation.  The ICT policy is so sweet and clear in black and white, but there is no implementation in rural schools. Lack of implementation and practice in this era (4IR) undermines this sacred profession. Teachers must be well developed and equipped with ICT skills. A well-resourced teacher with ICT skills is a happy and confident teacher. The future of digitizing education is in the hands of well-equipped educators. ICT integration is no longer a choice in this era, but a compulsory need. Educators who are not prepared to transition from the old into the new model of curriculum delivery design must adapt or retire. A lack of adaptation and resistance to change from some educators who are not prepared to change or are scared of transformation is a barrier to ICT integration in rural schools despite the technical lack of implementation. The attitude and the willingness of educators to re-skill will make ICT integration in learning and teaching possible. As educators, we must collaborate and be versatile.
 In conclusion, barriers to content and curriculum delivery design in rural public schools in the absence or inadequacy of technology resources as well as resistance to change where some teachers, are not prepared to transition from the old teaching methodology into the new ICT integration method. We must encourage older educators who have been in the field of teaching before ICT integration to re-skill themselves to match the standard of the new generation of educators. Smart classrooms should also be a prerequisite with at least minimum technological resources all interlinked through Wi-Fi. If learners have access to learning in a smart classroom environment, they will be able to generate 4IR skills necessary for the 21st century. 

Browse By Tags

Copyright © 2016. Jagat Media Solutions | All Rights Reserved