South Africa will have high speed internet at the levels of or even faster than the likes of South Korea and Japan. It is not a matter of ‘if’, but ‘when’. The ‘if’-question is more relevant to readiness – to be precise, our readiness to skillfully manage connectivity for usefulness.
I truly believe that there is enough reality around that will bring us to our knees and our senses which will lead to the harnessing of all the possibilities that real connectivity can bring for learning – not to mention the enormous ramifications for entrepreneurship and business.
Powerfully illustrative of this conviction, the revolutionary Project Isizwe, tells an insightful tale. Awarded the Best Connectivity Solution for Africa last year, resolutely based on its monstrously, almost inconceivable offering of 15GB Free data per month per user, the project eclipsed the 1 million-user mark in 2015, convincingly showing what is possible in this country. This Wifi solution is being offered at a dazzling speed *. In fact, if this was 2013 and The City of Tshwane was a country, it would have had the fastest internet connection speed in the world and the statistics would have looked like this.
If, however, a fast internet merely means that you transfer information faster and give access to curriculum-related media-rich content faster without changing the way you teach, without curricular reform and you stubbornly persist with ineffective teacher-training programs, then all you will do, in the words of Distinguished Professor from Dongguk University (Korea), Dr Peck Cho, is “do bad education faster”.
If I may be a little autobiographical; when I met up with the good old Prof at the 2013 UNESCO-funded African Ministerial Forum on ICT Integration in Education and Training in Tunis, he shared startling insights from the Korean example. He lamented that, even though Korea was top in the world for technological proficiency and academic performance, it was dead last in the world when it came to measuring student happiness.
‘What we managed to do was make our students unhappier, faster.’
Dr Peck Cho, Distinguished Professor, Dongguk University
Clearly, the “blessings”, as the Prof called them, from high speed connectivity raised academic performance, but the “curses” provided clear clues that a far more comprehensive approach to ICT integration in education and training is needed if the impact is to meet the needs of the whole individual.
* Reference: PROJECT ISIZWE ACCELERATES FREE WIFI SPEED IN TSHWANE (2016, January 6) Retrieved from: http://www.htxt.co.za/2015/07/29/project-isizwe-bumps-up-network-speed-for-faster-connectivity-in-tshwane/
Disclaimer: The City of Tshwane is NOT a country and the modification on the inserted diagram is for illustrative purposes only.