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Posted by on Jun 18, 2015 in All Disciplines, E-learning | 11 comments

Let’s Compute, to Compete

Let’s Compute, to Compete


The South African youth unemployment percentage was set at 36.1% in 2014.  The main culprit of the joblessness in our country is reported to be lack of skills.  Many of our youth are left jobless because they do not possess digital skills and the few that have the digital know how expand their horizons and accumulate a number of jobs per person.  The government must take responsibility and form partnerships with the educational institutions to assist the youth in their learning as well as encouraging the people whose jobs it is to educate the students at all levels of schooling to use traditional ways of teaching in conjunction with teaching with technology.  The country stands to benefit by growing economically if the workforce increases and is productive.  Companies that are using e-learning report that there are improvements in language, literacy and numeracy gaps and this for them makes e-learning a positive tool to implement.  It should be motivating enough to the government of the day that one of the challenges that South African e-learning arena is affected by one aspect on which only the government has control over, power supply.  It is frustrating enough to have to deal with load shedding here and there personally.

Now imagine a class of willing students, workers and facilitators alike sitting in a session just when they are about to engage in an interesting activity they lose the connectivity.  To add to the problems we have that hinder us from surfing the same current as the leading countries in e-learning is the teachers.  It would be ideal to start the youth with e-learning before they reach the institutions of higher learning but the disappointing factor is the people who are responsible for their education at this level.  The digital skills issue is not only a problem at the school levels but at the institutions of higher education, though it is not as severe as in schools but we still have lecturers who lack the skills and for some of those with the skills they do not invest in themselves by seeking further training.  Not pointing the finger only at the teachers and the lecturers, what do the managers of these institutions have to say for themselves? We all need to look at ourselves; the digital trainers included, and ask ourselves this one question: ‘What am I NOT doing to get the people that teach, committed to digital learning?’

We have not yet reached the epitome of online learning South Africa!



  1. I heard on SA FM this morning that high school teachers are resigning for various reasons, amongst them it is the requirement to blend their teaching methods. You did not really miss it, you still have time to complete theme 2, please baba…

  2. Thanks Dolly. In your readings did you find any High School making use of online learning? I would believe that the NSC curriculum provided by Government doesn’t include or maybe even support online learning. Any views on this?

  3. Thanks for sharing. When do you think we will reach the epitome, and can you describe what you feel the epitome will look like?

    • If there is one thing one International Political Economy has taught me is that we will never be on par with the already progressed superpowers who happen to be the leaders in everything. Leaving politics behind, I do not see us as a country reaching this any time soon. We have endless social ills to address before undertaking (fancy) educational technologies. The epitome however, would be allow me to call it a utopia, please allow me to fantasize of the perfect educational state of our country here. We would have one device per learner, knowledgeable teachers who will not miss class because they would engage with their learners using technology. And, the libraries, I have not figured what role would they serve but with e-books available on the devices do you see learners flocking to the libraries to get/ return books?

      I am stopping here because I have such a perfect picture of what the perfect digital learning space could look like and being a realist I know this is just my dream.

      • The libraries already are seeing less and less visits. If they do not change, we might soon lose them.

  4. @Dolly, I agree that we will never be on par with the developed world in terms of educational technologies. I often see us always playing catch-up. One advantage though, is that we get to learn from their mistakes.

  5. @Dave, I was actually thinking of the libraries this morning, asking myself what purpose would the exist to serve should it happen we digitalise all written material. To not completely rule out the libraries once my dream comes true, we can use them to house the digital devices so that the libraries could serve the same function as internet café in a larger spectrum and reasonable prices for the financially disadvantaged.

    @Fred, I agree with you. Hopefully we will in future not copy but have our own people manufacturing and exporting such technological gadgets.

  6. I don’t think that anyone can argue that online learning plays and will continue playing an important role in education. My question however is the role of MOOC’s specifically. If it is only people that are interested in enriching their knowledge we need to revisit the purpose of MOOC’s and how it can be used to be more advantageous.

  7. I find myself surrounded by lecturers who are actually making use of technology in their teaching and they are writing reports on the usage of such medium to prove that they to some degree have a positive contribution in their teaching. As for MOOCs, they are not only used for individual’s personal interest but have credit bearing courses. People that partake in such courses are certified at the completion of the courses. Please have a look at these link;

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