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Expert says e-learning will bring inequalities in education delivery

As some quarters in the country are suggesting e-learning as a possible solution for schools amidst cholera outbreak, an education expert says the country is not at a stage where it can implement e-learning in public schools due to challenges such as blackouts and lack of resources in many schools.

This is coming as government is today expected to map the way forward on the delayed reopening of Blantyre and Lilongwe schools which have been on a two-week extended holiday due skyrocketing of cholera cases in most parts of the country.

Following the extended holiday directive, some quarters say government should from now start promoting e-learning as the only lasting solution to school closures in times of pandemics like now.

However, the expert Limbani Nsapato is of the view that e-learning is not workable for the country citing many hindrances including electricity challenges, network problems and inadequate resources for the purchase of gadgets for students in rural areas.

He then indicted that government should put in place workable solutions that could easily be implemented by all sectors involved, saying e-learning would only be good for widening the inequality gap in the education sector.

“E-learning was also proposed during the Covid 19 pandemic when schools were closed for many months, but the issue remained is about access. For that to work we needed to have gadgets like computers, smart phones for the learners as well as electricity connectivity which most schools do not have. So what we saw was that e-learning was only benefitting those in towns and also those in well to do families, so it was bringing out inequalities in education service delivery,” said Nsapato.

Recently, another education expert Steve Sharra told Malawi24 that school closures cause national anxiety, and have ripple effects on the economy and the society and said there is really a need to find last solution that will see children learning in times of outbreaks.

“We need to invest in resilience systems that would allow schools to continue offering education in times of disruption. This is what we learned from covid-19. We need to start implementing those lessons,” said Sharra.

Last week government announced that schools in Blantyre and Lilongwe will delay opening by at least two weeks in the wake of a surge in cholera cases.

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