This research paper from the University of Johannesburg explored how grade 12 mathematics teachers at South African public secondar schools responded to emergency remote teaching (ERT) during lockdown. The study foregrounds issues of inequality in the South African education system that must be urgently dealt with. These issues were seen in a starker light during the pandemic.
The teachers interviewed in the study indicated that they had to learn to use different online platforms and innovate. Most teachers had never used these tools before, and many used WhatsApp. Problems such as learners not being able to afford sufficient data or digital devices meant that some teachers had to integrate radio and TV schooling programs with their teaching.
Some teachers in the study also struggled to get adequate data in order to teach. Many relied on the international community for resources, and were unable to shift smoothly to digital learning, whereas more privileged and well-resourced schools were able to benefit from various online learning solutions.
It highlighted that the Covid-19 pandemic brought existing inequality to the fore, and it noted that for digital transformation to occur in South Africa, these resources must be available to all learners, which demands urgent action from stakeholders.
Watch the webinar ‘How online learning can support our school system’
Many of the issues raised in this research paper were explored in the webinar that Trialogue hosted with Investec in June 2022. Here, key role-players discussed their advice and lessons learnt, as well as challenges that still affect stakeholders in the education system.