CC image courtesy of Thomaseagle.
E-textbooks, open source textbooks and mobile education have been suggested by a new report as an alternative to get South African education up to standards.
Published by the Southern Africa Bishops Conference Parliamentary Liaison Office, the report by Kenny Pasensie discussed solutions to the textbook issues in South Africa, following delivery problems in 2012.
“South Africa’s education system is beset by a multitude of problems, and prominent amongst them is the government’s inability to provide the necessary learning materials on time,” the report stated.
The use of e-textbooks is motivated by its adaptability across multiple platforms with advised employment as from a computer or tablet.
“The real challenge is to put a cheap, reliable reading device in the hands of those who need it,” the report said.
Affordability is the greatest hampering issue, while cost-effective updates are a good aspect.
Open source textbooks includes streaming videos, multimedia applications and podcasts with the advantage of open copyright, according to the non-governmental educational organisation Open Educational Resources (OER) Africa.
Although acknowledging affordability and durability as complications, the use of e-readers in combination with open source resources is recommended due to its unlimited material usage on a variety of devices.
This will also bridge the obstacles of a lack of local content developers and broadband internet connectivity.
Mobile education is regarded as a viable solution due to the high usage of mobile devices in South Africa.
Referencing World Wide Worx’s 2012 Internet access report, it points to 7.9 million South Africans using mobiles for internet access.
“Digital textbooks, mobile education and other publishing models already exist, and perhaps it’s time the government invested wisely in these alternatives,” Pasensie concludes.
HumanIPO reported last month on social entrepreneur Barbara Mallinson’s belief of social education as a South African solution to learning.