The majority of Technical, Vocational, Education and Training (TVET) colleges are still reliant on on-premise equipment to run their learner management systems (LMS) and are looking to technology to mitigate against loadshedding and improve access to education. While they can look at alternative energy solutions and even switch to the cloud in an effort to keep teaching uninterrupted, these are just enablers and more needs to be done for hybrid or remote learning to be successful.
Recurring loadshedding woes pose a serious challenge for the majority of South Africa’s higher education institutions, especially colleges. A change in mindset around the adoption of new technologies, as well as new public-private partnerships, are needed to ensure that teaching and learning can continue unaffected and that students can complete their qualifications.
South Africa's leap into digital education, which gained impetus during the national lockdown, is facing headwinds, with institutions often not having the necessary hybrid learning methodology, infrastructure or educator professional development in place. This has led to several colleges reverting to full-time in-person classes, which represents a set backwards - but the situation can and must be reversed.
While there has been much interest in online and hybrid learning over the past few years, actual implementation has lagged behind and this was made painfully obvious during the recent spate of lockdowns. Based on observed successes, it is clear that a more centralised approach from the government and private sector partnerships is needed to ensure that educational institutions are equipped to deal with every eventuality.