E-learning a massive challenge for poor

29 April 2020 | Education

ILENI NANDJATO

OSHAKATI



The Tsumeb TOV plans to develop a strategy to assist the town's children with e-learning.

The technical director for the TOV HIV/Aids Orphans and Vulnerable Children Organisation based at Tsumeb, Reverend Edward Amadhila, said the e-learning education system proposed by the Namibian government as a teaching strategy amid the coronavirus pandemic excludes the majority of Namibian children.

Amadhila said many Tsumeb children do not have the telecommunication devices necessary for accessing e-learning.

“In Tsumeb, the number of children without access to technology means it is even more depressing. How will the poor kids in Kuvukiland or Soweto access those platforms if they do not have access to electricity?

“How many of these kids have access to smartphone or Wi-Fi at their homes? I mean, in their ghettos or kambashus or shacks. These poor kids also do not have access to TV or radio to follow some of the educational programmes,” Amadhila said.

“The future of these boys and girls is in the hands of organisations like TOV which has so much capacity and influence to raise more money to move our community forward.

“We are all aware of the tough time our friends and communities are facing, but we are also aware it is during the darkest times that the lights shine the brightest.”



Digital divide

According to education ministry executive director Sanet Steenkamp, fewer than 2% of pupils have access to online education.

She said out of the total school population of 804 000, only 13 000 pupils will be able to access the education ministry's e-learning platforms during the national lockdown.

The TOV cares for 65 orphans and vulnerable children from the community, seven of whom are girls who live at the facility. For 19 years, the centre has been committed to its mission of providing physical, emotional and educational support to school-age children. However, due to the state of emergency, children can no longer access the centre.

“We are working on a plan with partners to help boys and girls in Tsumeb with e-learning. We will share more with you as we progress,” Amadhila said.

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