News agency, Cape Town, South Africa
Wednesday October 17th 2018

Technophobic teachers stymie education, say principals

Sandiso Phaliso

A lack of computer training amongst some teachers in Cape Town townships is compromising their ability to teach and complete administrative duties, while also increasing the workload of their computer-literate colleagues, principals say.

One school, Dr. Nelson Mandela High School in Crossroads, has taken the initiative and is running after-hours classes to close the gap between computer illiterate and computer literate teachers.

Deputy principal Aletta Pretorious said the administration at the school suffered as computer-literate staff sacrificed their time helping their colleagues with typing and learner assessments.

“Teachers take two hours typing a page instead of 10 minutes and this is wasting teaching and tuition time and we want an end to this,” she said.

Pretorious said the computer training classes started about a month ago, with two teachers teaching basic computer skills to over 30 colleagues twice a week.

“The results speak for themselves. Teachers have shown a willingness to learn,” she said.

However, in Nyanga, Sithembele Matiso Senior Secondary school principal Mandisa Ziba said 10 of the 39 teachers at her school could not use computers and a further 10 knew only the basics.

She said the problem was mostly found among older teachers, but a lack of computers was also a problem.

At Sinethemba Senior Secondary school in Philippi, Principal Nelson Poopedi said only about half of the 34 teachers were able to use computers.

“At the end of the day learners are going to suffer the consequences as the situation makes it impossible for learners to have computer skills themselves,” said Poopedi.

Poopedi said it was not in the job requirement to be computer literate, but it was considered an advantage.

But Khayelitsha’s Usasazo Senior Secondary school deputy principal Luthando Ndlovu said it was the responsibility of teachers to access training.

“The department cannot be blamed for an individual’s lack of skills. Teachers need to empower themselves. One cannot expect everything from the department of education.”

Western Cape education department spokesperson Paddy Attwell said the department had been engaged in major initiatives to enhance education using information and communication technologies.

Attwell said that the Khanya Project aimed to ensure that every high school in the province had a computer laboratory.

He said to date over 1 000 schools in the Western Cape had computers provided by the department.

The Khanya team, which focused on schools in poor communities, had trained nearly 16 000 educators in basic computer literacy, with a potentially number of 524 179 learners having access to the technology.

Attwell said it was up to the teachers to make use of the programme. – West Cape News

Tags: technology icts

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