• Thu. Dec 1st, 2022

The mobile phone: a classroom capable of bridging the digital divide

ByCindy J. Daddario

Jul 14, 2022
The author, Hasmukh Gajjar from mobiLearn

All Challenges we face today as a nation revolve around education. Clearly, mobile and digital technologies can accelerate the delivery of education. But the irony in South Africa is that digitization is increasing the digital divide.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) will never happen in South Africa unless millions of the country’s people can bridge the digital divide before it becomes incredibly wide. To promote an understanding of 4IR, mobiLearn in 2019 created a show-and-tell 4IR video.

Access to connectivity creates a very real divide between those who can use technology to improve their educational outcomes and those who cannot. Digital literacy is essential for accessing educational opportunities.

On the one hand, there is a lot of frustration and anger over high data prices that are seen as stifling access. Conversely, most consumers use their valuable data for entertainment or social media. What we need to do is create an aspiration in consumers to become smarter in how they use their smartphones and data, turning their device into a mobile classroom.

Many South Africans do financial transactions that require in-person presence, but they have a smartphone in their pockets. Yes, many banks have their own apps; however, harnessing them for online transactional activities requires basic digital skills and a significant shift from entertainment data spending to e-learning opportunities.

A lot of investment, both public and private, has gone into education, but we still have a long way to go before we can say the nation is digitally savvy. This means that our economy is not ready for the 4RI.

Digital literacy is the first step to closing the digital divide and enabling more people to access the digital economy.

The past dictates the present

The digital revolution is held hostage by our past, but even more so by our current reality. People who do not have access to digital capital or skills cannot participate in the digital economy. Our past continues to dictate who has the opportunity to more easily exploit their entrepreneurial skills. The unintended consequence is that our past dictates who makes money as entrepreneurship has become so reliant on digital tools.

Digital literacy and the productive use of a smartphone can itself bring economic benefits to millions of our fellow citizens. Time spent queuing at ATMs, photocopying ID cards or ID books, laminating valuable documents or other analogue activities means that huge chunks of precious household income are spent on these activities. Understanding and learning how to migrate these analog businesses to a digital transaction on their mobile phones can become economically liberating.

All of us, individuals and businesses, must promote digital literacy at all levels so that this world-eating mobile device does not simply eat out of the pockets of most of our fellow citizens. The digitally savvy cell phone is essential to partake in all that the 4IR has to offer.

To learn more, visit mobilearn.africaor log on to LinkedIn, Twitter, instagram Where Facebook.

About mobiLearn
MobiLearn produces content for impactful communications. As a production house, mobiLearn creates digital content and produces online events. Using our specialized skills, we create assets including animations, podcasts, audio and video content. MobiLearn seamlessly manages live events, webinars and online workshops.

  • The author, Dr. Hasmukh Gajjar, is CEO of mobiLearn
  • This promoted content has been paid for by the relevant party