Rural online learning in the context of COVID 19 in South Africa: Evoking an inclusive education approach
This paper discusses the challenges faced by rural learners in South Africa in the context of the world pandemic commonly known as COVID-19. Rural learners face unprecedented challenges in adjusting to a new mode of life and learning, the latter being characterised by the predominant use of online, learning management systems and low-tech applications. The paper is informed by critical emancipatory research, I used participatory action research. A total of 10 learners and five teachers participated via Whatsapp. The paper answers two questions: what are the learning challenges faced by rural learners in South Africa, and how can online learning be enhanced in the context of COVID-19? The findings suggest that, while the South African government is promoting online learning as the only alternative in the context of COVID-19, this mode excludes many rural learners from teaching and learning, due to a lack of resources to connect to the internet, the learning management system, and low-tech software. The paper argues that rural learners are critical stakeholders in education and in the fight against COVID-19, and they cannot be left behind in efforts to fight the pandemic.
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