South African educators believe ICT can help to solve some of the country’s education challenges, but most schools are not yet ready to benefit from new technologies.
This is one of the findings from the Via Afrika Snapshot of eLearning in South African Schools report, which also found that, out of South Africa’s 413 067 teachers, 132 884 had been trained in basic computer skills and ICT equipment by 2011.
While six of the nine provinces believe that schools in their provinces are not yet ready for ICT, eight of them are positive towards ICT and actively promote it.
In all but three provinces – Western Cape, Eastern Cape and Free State – 100% of schools have appropriate buildings for implementing digital education solutions.
KwaZulu-Natal is lagging with only 73% of its schools being supplied with electricity, although overall five provinces have electricity in more than 90% of their schools.
In 2012, of the more than R2-billion total educational turnover of educational publishers in South Africa, only R277 000 went to e-books.
To complicate matters, there are at least six different governmental policy papers on implementing e-learning in education available to the provinces. All provinces are running a minimum of three strategies concurrently, with one province running five.
Explaining the research methodology of the Via Afrika Snapshot of eLearning in South African Schools report, group content manager Michael Goodman says: “The research was conducted using a questionnaire distributed to ICT officials across all nine provincial education departments and augmented with secondary sources.”