Tag Archives: MDG2

The State of ICT in South Africa’s Education System

The failings of the South African Education Department to comprehensively support the integration of ICT in Education since it’s strategic outline for ICT and Education (DoE, 2004) have been counter-productive to the country’s growth objectives. Moreover, it has perpetuated inequality, helped to sustained poverty and encouraged a culture of nepotism and of tokenism. At its worst, such failure has fostered a criminal environment as the default option to young people facing high levels of unemployment in the country.


South African scholars have criticized the government for failing to support growth by maintaining “low quality education as a poverty trap” (van Der Berg et al, 2011). Despite the fact that much has been done since the dismantling of ‘Apartheid,’ progress in the education sector has struggled to keep pace with or learn from ICT implementation in commercial and industrial sectors. This has of course not been the case in South Africa’s private education sector, where ‘academies of learning’ continue to out perform their state counterparts, in some cases exponentially. The privileged few have been supported by fully engaged stakeholders, active school management committees and business partners who appreciate the long-term yields of capacity building and investing into future leaders. How is it that such vision and foresight is less forthcoming in the state sector? Can a decision about the future of education in South Africa truly be whittled down to a matter for funding models and balance sheets to decide? The consequences of a lack of ICT integration progress in state schools compound the existing social problems facing South Africa today.


The following facts are clear: poor education is a precondition to low employability; there is sufficient evidence supporting the link between low employment and the likelihood of crime; and finally, ICT has been transformative in those education systems where users are enabled and supported throughout the implementation process. The call is to South African leaders in education and to civil society from the grassroots upwards, to recall their childhood journeys through education and to re-double their efforts to ensure that today’s youth gain access to quality education using the technological resources that are increasingly free for all to access.



Department of Education (DoE). (2004) Draft white paper on e-Education. Transforming learning and teaching through Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) Government Gazette. No. 26734.


A year ago, UNESCO reported that Africa needed 1 million new teachers in order to meet the goal of achieving universal primary education (MDG2).

A year ago, UNESCO reported that Africa needed a million new teachers in order to meet the goal of achieving universal primary education (MDG2). This figure amounted to increasing the teaching workforce in Africa by a third in order to provide every child with access to primary schooling.

The results for MDG2 thus far have been reported positively, with a 90% increase in primary school enrolments. But what does this mean for new learners? Are there new teachers? Are there new school buildings? Have African schools found a way of rapidly increasing in size without compromising on the quality of education?  In most cases the answer is “no.”

The average teacher to pupil ratio in African schools remains as high as 1: 50. This challenging learning environment is compounded by the consequences of political instability and civil unrest, poor nutrition, lack of sanitation facilities and the knock on effect this has on the spread of disease. The frustrations experienced by INGOs, NGOs and other actors working to support access to quality education are but a fraction of what children living in these countries deal with on a day to day basis.

The call is to African leaders, heads of state and civil society to recall their childhood journeys and to double their efforts to ensure that today’s youth gain access to quality education. Education is recognised as a human right by the United Nations and the African Union. It is critical to the survival of Africa’s future that legislative theory be put into action by those implementing education policies today.