Is Digital Learning the Answer to Village Student?
Growing up in the villages deep in Rusape, under the district of Makoni, education was considered a luxury. My siblings and I would wake up early in the morning to go and fetch water and get ready and leave for school 8km away on foot in excruciating heat, in winter, the cold was worse, early morning dew on grass walking barefoot to school was no child play.
To the village student, the idea of attaining an education was directly tied to changing one’s life and hopefully have a great future, this was indeed true, proven by a few of those who were hardworking and went through the gruesome process and made it through in the end. Highlighting the importance of education was up to the teachers; enough emphasis on this matter would motivate students to concentrate and take school seriously.
In most village schools in Africa, there are hardly any computers; most of the knowledge comes from the dedicated teachers, blackboard and chalk. Textbooks were shared and only to be read in class, never borrowed from the school inventory. The ‘no book goes home policy’ was enforced if fear of losing the only valuable property the school owns, so books are guided jealously.
This lack of opportunity when one compared an urban and a rural school sets the tone of privilege which not many urban schools enjoy either in exception of a few with enough resources to go around. The advantages of e-learning, however, is that notes are shared by the tutor and utilised by students more effectively.
There is always a way to go around the education sector, awarding similar opportunities to all learners regardless of where they are in the country is critical. It is understood that there are limits, but those can be crossed should strategies be put in place to make sure education is effectively delivered.
Digital technology is taking us closer to attend classes from other schools remotely; we can now access information by in a few clicks on the search engine. This possibility is not fiction; it is already happening around the world; even some 3rd world countries have already adopted online learning approach to education. Embracing digital technologies within the education sector requires a hands-on approach; it needs rolling out, relevant infrastructure needs to be put in place to facilitate the digital transition.
If governments could avail internet access to remote parts of the country, we will be able to have a more significant number of students in school than we currently have. My memory is that of a cry for help; if only we eLearning were offered to students then, complete with internet accessibility, the majority of students could have turned out better. A few village educated men and women would resonate with me; some long walks are unnecessary, embracing technology, especially eLearning would change a lot of people’s lives.