So I asked on my Facebook what I could write about for today’s blog with the theme of education in the new era. Ironically, the only response was the lack ICT in South African public schools. Abbreviated for Information, and Communication Technology, in short, it is the integration of education with digital tools and knowledge. Now that would seem a pretty simple and obvious endeavor in the contemporary world wouldn’t it? Well, the project started nearly ten years ago, and only because of the pandemic in 2020 did we actually see a real integration of digital tools and education, because we were forced to. I think for many educators in South Africa the digital migration has seemed pointless, even now “post” pandemic, there has been a great regression in the acceptance of digital literacies. And I think this is where the issue really begins. The unaccepting of change and integration is something I’m sure stems from our segregated past, but it has seeped its way through the decades to still haunt us today. Maybe it’s a fear of being obsolete, forgotten, released, or retrenched. But that fear is pretty irrational. One only becomes obsolete when they refuse to change, and everyone can change, no matter their age, race, sex, or gender, given the right amount of knowledge and application, given enough information and access one can redefine their entire life… If given the chance.

Teachers are tired, they don’t want to learn. They are the authority in their field, why should they learn more… right? Or they actually just have no clue what they are doing and just repeat notes and textbook quotes. I wish that was an exaggeration, but after teaching for over 10 years in all kinds of schools and places, it is really rare to find a teacher that actually wants to teach and enjoys their subject with a real passion. There is a huge lack of passion to further oneself, and it’s understandable given our current socio-political circumstances. I would be tired too, I am tired. Very tired. But I know that my actions have greater implications as an educator, and so I kind of tell myself, work hard today to make an easier tomorrow. Because ultimately it’s not about me, it’s about the students, and not just these students, but any that have or will be in my class at any point. My job isn’t to just teach my subject, it is to inspire students to make a change and redirect their life, and my subject is but an aid in doing that. That is a huge responsibility. Even more so for younger students who have not matured to the point of understanding long-term consequential choices. They need to be entertained and guided through the knowledge, mostly unaware of the information they are processing and the new neural paths they are creating. We have to give them enough chances and choices to know how to differentiate and delegate well-informed choices in life given their chosen fields and paths whatever they may be, and not just in education and learning, but in life itself. Because in the end, that’s what it’s all about right? Making good life choices. Or at least it should be.

But too often we are met with people who clearly made some bad life decisions and ended up being a teacher because it was easier. And to be honest, I don’t mind those people, I would never tell anyone they can’t be a teacher. Everyone has the innate ability to teach, and often we do it unaware of actually doing it. What I do mind, is refusing to keep up with the times. To improve themselves. Because then it becomes more obvious as to why they couldn’t make it in their selected field. My approach is that if you take on a job, be it anything, you should always strive to better yourself within it. I mean why not? Many may argue with me that teachers aren’t the issue, it’s the system and infrastructure, and I will agree…which is why we are trying to change it, but we can’t when people refuse to change with it… See the dilemma? We are creating our own problems. As for infrastructure, over 70% of South Africans have internet access. And rising. as access spreads across the country now reaching even some of the farthest points of it. So it turns out we don’t have so much such a resource issue, but rather how that resources I applied, Twitter and TikTok will attest to this, we are constantly bombarded by negative media, fake news, tropes, memes, stereotypes, etc, it becomes a form entertainment taken as truth, and I think this isn’t due to a lack of want, but rather a lack of content, where are the TikTokkers doing CAPS curriculum maths tips. With the number of students that are in need of that kind of help, you would be sure to have a massive following, while there are people doing this already, there is a definite lack of variety and a scarcity in actually curriculum discussion, but now we can establish, most teaching can be done via mobile phones even. The issue then lies in access and cost. And stigma. Lots of stigmas. South Africa has quite a high data rate, one of the most expensive in the world. And many people despite having a phone with internet access, the cost is still really high, so usually many people opt for social media bundles rather than raw data. 

Unless your institution applies to the government to make access to the school website free. Which has also been around quite a while but with the pandemic really kicked off (Application details here:, so now we know that access can be free and that in the majority most students will be able to have access via their mobile. We need to develop the content to be open and resource-friendly, so it can be shared in a way that ultimately a community is affected rather than just whoever holds the phone. That should be easy, right? Just convert everything we have to mobile online formats… Nope. Not that easy.

What is the issue then? Especially going forward now with these tools in hand. Well from what I have seen it is two main issues, and its a human problem, one, as I have discussed, teachers don’t want to be teachers, and it’s not their fault, this is where infrastructure and all that becomes an issue, we just have a general lack of resources, which is part reason why we aim to try to alleviate as much with the use of digital tools, the other massive issue is content integration, those creating the curriculum content are not invested or knowledgable enough in integrating digital literacies into the educational format required for our low data using and multicultural digital environments. There is a tendency to create content for content’s sake rather than continuity. So it’s the content and the people really, the people aren’t taking/given enough time and effort to integrate a purpose, but are rather just doing so because they were told to and to get it done, drudging through terms and semesters, never realising that a little effort now saves a lot later, and that ultimately affects the content, those who care little do little and it is reflected in the application of the educator to course content. I think when some develop content they do so with the intention of ending where they stop writing. And so then what tends to happen is content then becomes monotonous and stale, it lacks engagement and style. We have to unteach teachers from being “teachers” to teach them to be Teachers. Be facilitators of growth in not only others’ lives but theirs too, rather than just being educators of a subject working their own version of 9 to 5. Like trees that bear full fruits which the whole community benefits from, the teacher must be. 

A man has made at least a start on discovering the meaning of human life when he plants shade trees under which he knows full well he will never sit.

DigitiZAtion of a nation