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Non-profit Section27 intros educational resources directory

Read time 3min 30sec

Social justice non-profit organisation Section27 has introduced an online gateway for educational resources and learning programmes in SA.

The online portal maps and gathers educational programmes made available by the Department of Basic Education (DBE) and its partners, to provide educators and learners with quick and easy access to reliable educational resources across various media platforms, such as online, television and radio.

SA has seen an explosion of online educational programmes and resources since government closed educational institutions in an attempt to contain the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The virus has led to school closures across the globe, resulting in an estimated half of the world’s youth not attending schools or universities. This has seen education institutions looking at virtual teaching tools, such as automated development platforms, learning management systems and virtual classrooms, as alternatives.

While some countries have re-opened their schools, South Africa reportedly plans to begin re-opening its schools in a phased approach from June, as minister of basic education Angie Motshekga prepares schools to meet the lockdown regulation requirements, to contain the spread of COVID-19.

Motheo Brodie, legal researcher in the education rights programme at Section27, says while the organisation recognises the importance and necessity of the national lockdown, it also notes it would have serious effects on the continuation of basic education.

“We have developed a consolidated resource map where learners, parents and caregivers can access information about resources to assist with the continuation of learning during lockdown.

“There are many online learning sites circulating offering curriculum materials. What we have created is a consolidated platform where we map official DBE sources which are reliable and national curriculum and assessment policy statements-compliant. We aim to update this page weekly as more schedules and materials become available.”

Section27 seeks to realise the Constitution’s vision of social justice, mainly through activist work focusing on rights to healthcare services and basic education.

On the educational portal, the organisation says it conducted an online review of nationally available educational platforms, taking note of data costs and accessibility issues.

It then made efforts to ensure it outlines which grades and subjects are covered by the different Web sites. After researching which sites are data-heavy and which are zero-rated on different mobile networks, it also provides this information.

“We aim to advocate further for more sites to be zero-rated across network providers. We have also pooled information about broadcast and radio lessons in one place, paying attention to what is broadcast both nationally and locally,” adds Brodie.

Meanwhile, multinational IT firm HP has partnered with the African Union (AU) to expand digital learning opportunities for all youth in AU member states, which represents all 55 countries on the African continent.

Both entities have agreed to collaborate on various initiatives, including the introduction of two online learning platforms: One Million by 2021 initiative and the Continental Education Strategy, which will be utilised by African ministers to support distance learning endeavours for Africa’s more than 400 million young people aged between 15 to 35 years.

Private online high school Valenture Institute says it has witnessed increased interest in its online educational offerings from South African parents since the lockdown.

As a result, the global, private educational institution has launched a series of live sessions on its United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Labs, which is open to all learners at no cost.

The online sessions cover the impact of COVID-19 on the climate, jobs and economy, and assess what the future may look like post-pandemic.

Online learning platform DigiCampus says it is now offering its online video learning platform in multiple local languages, encompassing the national curriculum from Grade R to Grade 12.

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