e-learning obstacles human rather than technologic, says expert

People stand in the way of the activation of e-learning in schools, says Kobus van Wyk, Head of Mustek Electronics.

“How do you eat an elephant? Invite your partners to the feast,” Van Wyk said.

He believes the solution lies in partnerships between the educational institutions and the technology companies.

Van Wyk defines the four biggest barriers to technological advancement of education in South Africa as teachers, support, budget and lastly technology.

Equipping South African schools with technology is still miles away from the establishment of e-learning in schools. Although some institutions already have the necessary infrastructure in place, teachers are generally not equipped to use them.

Sufficient budgeting is necessary in order to train and retrain staff so they will be fully empowered to educate learners through the newest available source materials and technological tools.

Support is also lacking from Government, especially the “red tape” according to Van Wyk.

Budget-related obstacles have less to do with the availability of funds than the management of it. Van Wyk used the braai (South African barbeque) without-wood analogy to explain the embarrassment of having enough meat (equipment), but not enough wood (maintenance) to keep the fire going and thus achieving the goal of cooking the meat (accomplishing good educational standards). Maintenance is essential for successful technology, he added.   

Van Wyk, an expert on e-learning initiatives, spoke at the Enterprise ICT Africa seminar about innovative e-learning strategies at AfricaCom 2012 in Cape Town yesterday (Thursday).

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