The Influence of Covid-19 on Students’ Learning: Access and Participation in Higher Education in Southern Africa

Keywords: Access, digital awareness, digital equity, digital knowledge, digital literacy, online earning

Abstract

Recent experiences of institutions in COVID 19 have heightened the need for research on its impact on higher education institutions globally.  This article’s authors are from higher learning institutions in Botswana, South Africa and Zambia, which used a blended learning model before COVID 19.  The majority of their students used the traditional part of blended learning, depending on the print, postal service, and face-to-face.  These students’ access and participation in learning during COVID 19 were negatively affected. Using Digital Equity as a framework, this paper explores the influence of COVID 19 on students’ access and participation in online learning.  There seem to be significant disparities in access and participation in high-quality technologies and severe educational inequities. This digital inequality impact calls for civic awareness in digital literacy among the citizenry if the gap between the rural and urban, have and have not digital immigrants and digital natives are to be bridged.

Author Biographies

Ramashego Mphahlele, University of South Africa

Dr Ramashego Shila Mphahlele is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Early Childhood Education.  She is currently seconded as a Professional Development Specialist.  She published and co-published several research outputs (articles and book chapters) in accredited publishing institutions nationally and internationally.  She also co-edited a book titled Empowering students and maximizing inclusiveness and equality through ICT, published by Brill Sense in April 2021.

Mmabaledi Seeletso, Botswana Open University

Mmabaledi Kefilwe Seeletso, PhD, is a Lecturer and Heads the Department of Educational Management and Leadership, in the School of Education, Botswana Open University. Her major research interests lie in the area of online teaching and learning, student support and Open Educational Resources.

Gistered Muleya, University of Zambia, Zambia

Dr Gistered Muleya is an educationist with vast experience in Civic/Citizenship Education, Educational Studies, Human Rights Education, Democracy and Governance and Global Studies.  He has over 24 years of teaching experience both at the secondary school level and university level. He has presented papers both locally and internationally and has also published in local and international peer-reviewed journals. Currently, he is a Lecturer /Researcher of Civic /Citizenship Education in the School of Education at the University of Zambia. He is also serving as an Assistant Director in charge of Postgraduate programmes at the Institute of Distance Education of the University of Zambia

Francis Simui, University of Zambia, Zambia

Dr Francis Simui is an educationist with vast experience working with civil society organisations focused on education in Zambia. His areas of specialisation include: (i) developing and managing an effective Open and Distance Education system; and (ii) developing and managing an effective inclusive education system. Currently, he works for the University of Zambia under the Institute of Distance Education as Head of Department, Programmes Development and Production, and Lecturer of Special/Inclusive Education

Published
2021-11-18
How to Cite
Mphahlele, R., Seeletso, M., Muleya, G., & Simui, F. (2021). The Influence of Covid-19 on Students’ Learning: Access and Participation in Higher Education in Southern Africa. Journal of Learning for Development , 8(3), 501-515. Retrieved from https://jl4d.org/index.php/ejl4d/article/view/515