By Dewald Smit and Dee During
These days, the internet is such an intrinsic part of our daily lives. It is something we almost take for granted, like water and electricity. When it’s not working, or slow, our lives grind to a halt.
Now consider our rural schools. The internet has the potential to completely transform basic education. By providing instant access to information and people, it has the potential to democratise students’ access to an infinite source of educational content. Teachers will have way more leverage with access to advanced teaching tools and it potentially eliminates geographical barriers.
The sad fact is that where connectivity is most needed, it is often hardest to come by.
About one in three (approximately 8000) state schools in South Africa don’t have access to computers or the internet. Although the Department of Basic Education is expected to complete the roll-out of digitising textbooks and teaching materials, a high percentage of the country’s education system is unable to benefit from these resources.
In line with President Cyril Ramaphosa’s vision to equip pupils with mobile learning tools (such as tablet devices) in all public schools, deputy minister of communications Pinky Kekana says: “We are saying that the fourth industrial revolution is here. The president wants to roll out 14 million tablets in the next three years. By that time, our schools should be ready with connectivity. We are deploying broadband in schools so that by the time every pupil is able to get his or her tablet, the Wi-Fi is connected.
“I believe that delivering internet connectivity to schools will substantially improve our country’s schooling system. Internet connectivity is essential if we want our children to succeed in education.
“In work and in life, education with internet connectivity is possibly the single most important factor in overcoming poverty, unemployment and inequality,” Kekana said.
At Bundu NetworX, we specialise in expanding our network to inaccessible areas and providing internet to people who would otherwise have no access. We currently provide free Wi-Fi to six schools in the Midlands area.
To find out more, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Picture, top: Finding ways to bring e-learning and internet connectivity to rural schools is a key part of the government’s education strategy. Picture: NESA by Makers/Unsplash