“Teachers will need to undergo further training to upskill and use new technologies and learning tools as well as methods for remote learning”
TEACHERS are in need of further training to upskill and use new technologies and learning tools, this is according to Sillas Pillay, director of academics at The Love Trust.
The Love Trust is a non-profit organisation (NPO) that provides vulnerable children with quality education and social care.
Analysing the state of education in South Africa, looking at the year 2020 in particular and how it has affected teaching and learning, Pillay said the year was nothing short of “devastation”.
“The pandemic exposed the gaps and flaws in an already struggling government department, already stretched to its limit and reliant on private schools to help those it can’t reach. In addition, it exacerbated the situation and placed pressure on all sectors of the education system – to breaking point.”
In an attempt to save the academic year, government had to cut down the curriculum requirements; this meant a huge knock to the quality of education and the learners’ academic careers. It is also the second year in a row that the curriculum was adjusted.
And with the delay in schools reopening, there has already been a loss in learning time; and now even more because of the hybrid system – where pupils attend five days every fortnight.
“Teachers are our greatest resource, but a hybrid teaching model will need to be implemented as in-person teaching might not always be possible – who knows when we’ll be forced into another lockdown. This means that teachers will need to undergo further training to upskill and use new technologies and learning tools as well as methods for remote learning,” said Pillay.
Pillay added that in addition to the skills training, there was a great need for financial investments in ICT infrastructures such as connectivity and technological resources.
“The only way to try to balance the scale is to focus on the areas that need funding the most, with government support to private-sector partnerships,” he said.
Pillay said this would require greater interdepartmental communication between government bodies, open dialogue between schools (public and private) and with the government regarding their needs, and collaboration between and inclusion of NGOs at company CSI (corporate social investment) strategy meetings.
“Through meaningful communication and purposeful investment and application of funds, the education sector of South Africa can recover from the devastation of the Covid-19 pandemic, but action needs to be taken now backed by strategic planning – it’s not going to be easy, but the end result could place the entire country in a stronger economic position years down the line,” Pillay concluded.