The COVID-19 pandemic has sent the 2020 academic year into turmoil. The only solution seems to be moving classes, exams and tutorials online. According to the Daily Maverick, only 9.5% of all South Africans who have accessed the internet, have home connections.
That leaves countless students unable to keep up with their academic studies due to the technological barrier now faced due to the COVID-19 regulations.
The connection problem
The entirety of a students ability to learn is solely based on their access to the internet. This includes electricity, an internet connection and a suitable device that can make the connection possible.
A recent study done by UCT indicates that more than 50% of students attending universities and colleges live in municipal areas were less than 10% of households have home internet.
This same study also found that less than 30% of South African households had access to the internet.
The privilege divide
It is no secret that the South African population is divided economically, this includes a privileged elite. Able to afford university and all the expenses that come with it, this group of elite or privileged students make up a huge part of the university alumni.
Half of the students at university then make up 30-47% of households that have access to electronic devices that act as catalysts for the education connection.
The UCT study mentioned above revealed that two-thirds of students that attended TVET colleges make up the municipal population where only a third have access to a household internet device.
Despite NSFAS’ plan to distribute laptops to aid in the 2020 academic crisis, there is not yet a solid solution to the resource problem.
The new academic system is hurting students who most require the academic chance. Without which, they are likely to remain stuck in the cruel nature of cyclic poverty.
Author: Andrea Frisby