Global Oxford University Press report reveals the most significant barrier to online learning

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"Sixty-one per cent of the teachers felt that their greatest challenge during the pandemic was engaging students in online sessions." Photo: Getty Images
"Sixty-one per cent of the teachers felt that their greatest challenge during the pandemic was engaging students in online sessions." Photo: Getty Images

Oxford University Press published a new report which explored the digital divide in education following the shift to online learning during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The report captured the views of 1 557 English language teachers from 92 countries including South Africa.

Sixty-eight per cent of the teachers surveyed in this report felt that poor digital access (physical access to the internet or a device) was the most significant barrier to online learning.

Another finding was that 61 per cent of the teachers felt that their greatest challenge during the pandemic was engaging students in online sessions.

While 70 per cent of the teachers who participated shared that most disadvantaged students were significantly affected by the shift to online education due to limited or no access to digital devices.

Additionally, 44 per cent of them felt that even the well-being of disadvantaged students was negatively affected during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Half of the teachers surveyed felt that parents need to play a more significant role in their children's digital learning. 

Another finding showed that 58 per cent of the teachers saw that disadvantaged students tended to receive less educational support from their parents and families.

Read: How can parents support their children as the 2021 matric exams begin?

One of the recommendations was independent learning, as it gives students valuable screen-free time and removes the pressure from disadvantaged students to be online for a full day when struggling with internet connection and high data costs.

Another recommendation was to build digital competency skills among teachers, students, and parents with regular training touchpoints.

This report recommended that governments around the world should prioritise access to reliable internet connections and devices.

Another recommendation was that governments must actively collaborate with teachers and students to use their recent experiences to inform future policy and curriculum development. 

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