Youth Capital, a youth-led campaign with an Action Plan that combines data with young people’s lived stories to shift gears on youth unemployment have conducted a survey on how South African students are coping with online learning.
The Daily Vox in collaboration with Youth Capital hosted an online discussion on how students are struggling with online learning. The panelists included: Kristal Duncan-Williams, Project Lead at Youth Capital, Vuyelwa Tshoto, Youth Capital Influencer and Student at Fort Hare University and Zandile Moloi, SAFETSA working group, Tshwane South TVET College President General.
If you missed it, no worries, we have rounded up the results of the survey here.
Lack of data, laptops and network coverage affects thousands of students
Students are struggling with home learning. The results showed that a lack of resources such as data, laptops and network coverage are making online learning difficult.
Students who are fortunate enough to have received data and laptops still struggle with network coverage. As a result they have to travel to remote areas that have coverage – risking their health and safety.
It’s unfortunate that local libraries are closed due to COVID19 as many students would have a safe space to study with free access to computers and the internet noted Tshoto.
Students wish to see the reopening of local libraries with social distancing regulations in place.
Unavailable zero-rated websites
Mobile networks including Vodacom, MTN, Cell C and Telkom have various zero-rated educational and data management portals in addition to the websites which have been zero-rated as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Unfortunately some students are unable to access those websites and portals. The DG Murray Trust working with Youth Capital are trying to ensure that all the zero-rated sites can be accessed without data.
Lecturers are also struggling with online learning
Lecturers have also been forced to adapt to online learning. Some lecturers struggle to teach students online due to lack of IT skills and new technology, said Moloi. She noted TVET colleges need to do more to help their lecturers get more technologically savvy.
COVID19 has proven that universities need to prioritise training lecturers with IT skills or they risk students dropping out.
The Daily Vox spoke to students about their online learning experiences.
Lack of communication
Students say there’s a lack of communication that results in confusion and exclusion. They need universities to include and consult them through various channels such as the Student Representative Councils.
Watch the full discussion here:
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Reporting by Kelly Mutizira and Fatima Moosa