Online Learning in South Africa Amid Coronavirus Crisis

Online Learning in South Africa Amid Coronavirus Crisis

The rampant growth of COVID-19 cases around the world forced different governments to take measurable stances and act precariously to tackle in pandemic as responsibly as possible. The South African government has taken swift and expeditious decisions to counter the spread of this virus. 


President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa was quick to announce a nation-wide emergency alert ordering closure of schools and colleges effective on March 18. The news of a student testing positive for COVID-19 spread fast, prompting the government to make swift changes across the country including the education sector. 


All universities and TVET colleges have already been ordered to shut down and are due to reopen on 15 April”, Department of Higher Education (DHET) Minister Blade Nzimande. 


Drastic steps like these were on the card as worldwide cases of coronavirus have been increasing exponentially. 


Schools in particular have been identified as one of the biggest threats in terms of the transmission. We considered that closing schools should take place but we also needed to give parents time to prepare for it. The drastic step of closing schools has become necessary but we also needed to ensure that measures are put in place to mitigate the impact”, Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga. 


home quarantine and social distancing impact on education


It was also decided that this closure will be compensated by shortening the June holidays later this year. Moreover, under the same directives, it was notified that schools will be encouraged to extend tuition hours. 


It must be noted that this directive affects all schools; public ordinary schools, independent schools and private. The technical aspects of these measures will be addressed by the concerned parties. Let’s keep in mind that the President has declared a national disaster which means that we are operating under extra ordinary conditions”, Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga. 


Under these strict measures, in a very rare move, the Department of Education has also decided to help the matric pupils by hosting radio tuition on its community radio stations.


We had to respond to how learners can continue to receive tuition while at home. One of the immediate interventions was to use radio lessons. Radio lessons have been used in the previous years to assist matriculants towards their finals examinations and have been impactful," Education MEC Kwazi Mshengu.


lady with a laptop with the text "learning schooling" in a library


The move to go digital and online has been appreciated by the community and the Ministry of Education has been announcing different outlets to help the students with their studies while staying at home such as FET Revision Booklets, Book reading Clubs  & many other similar platforms.

Keep learning and teaching going even during the current schools lockdown. #CoronavirusPandemic #StayHomeSaveLives #LockdownSA

— South African Government (@GovernmentZA) April 4, 2020


The Department of Higher Education (DHET) is also preparing tertiary institutions for online learning during the Covid-19 pandemic. To help the process of e-learning, many universities and schools have come forward by announcing online classes and learning for the students such as Wits University, Stellenbosch University, University of Cape Town & more

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