In the past year, many learners, teachers, and parents experienced firsthand the grave impact of the pandemic on education: school closures caused interrupted learning, and many were not as prepared for homeschooling as others due to lack of access to equipment or the internet. This highlighted the stark reality of the digital divide and the lack of digital equity in South Africa and the very real and urgent need to address it.
As we move into a more hybrid world of learning and working, the skills needed during the pandemic will not be wasted once it has eased or everyone is vaccinated. This experience has shown us how critical it is for the country’s youth to be computer literate and have the means to learn from home, no matter the circumstances.
We need to find long-lasting educational solutions to create sustainable economic, social, and environmental programmes to improve living standards. According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco), education for sustainable development means giving learners of all ages the knowledge and skills to address global challenges like climate change, poverty and, of course, inequality. Communications services and technological innovations should be accessible and affordable to all because of the implications they have for sustained economic development.
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