With the department announcing earlier that they will be opening online schools, Deputy Minister of Basic Education, Reginah Mhaule reiterated that they are working hard to improve on e-learning.
Now that schools will reopen on 15 February, the department also has to look at the possibility of the pandemic worsening. To this, Mhaule said that they will then take up an e-learning programme.
They do however still have difficulties in rural areas, particularly with connectivity, but Mhaule said that the department is working with service providers to improve on ICT and online learning as "moving forward, this is the way to go".
We have programmes on ICT and it is running in many of our schools ... The long-term plan is that we need to strengthen ICT.
DBE is also said to have partners who are taking education down to rural areas.
The ultimate goal for the department is to have teachers be able to communicate with learners better when teaching from home.
Teachers with comorbidities might stay at home and should they be able to work from home properly, the strain would be less on teachers at school who are trying to cope.
Mhaule said that learners having gadgets as they do now is not enough because it does not reach all of South Africa and they therefore want to improve on this.
Mathanzima Mweli, Director-General, announced that the DBE is working with provinces and private education providers to present regulations and policies which they could follow to open online public schools.
“There’s a team lead by Mr Tlhabane the Chief Director of ICT working with a branch that is responsible for schools and they are working with provinces to finalise policies and guidelines so that we promote online schools to run, yes we are also going to have them but at the moment they are private. This is the future and it’s something we are working towards as well,” said Mweli.
Last year many people were thinking about homeschooling their children, however, according to Mweli, many parents have "abandoned" that idea due to all the challenges they had to face.
Both public and private schools will be reopening on 15 February and the department hopes to carry this out safely.