Load shedding has become a major issue in South Africa, causing power outages for hours at a time. While the impact on businesses and homes has been extensively documented, it’s important to not overlook the impact that load shedding is having on education and schools in South Africa.
The impact of load shedding on education is multifaceted and ongoing. Here are some of the ways that it is impacting students, teachers, and schools:
Disruptions to the learning process:
Load shedding can disrupt the learning process by interrupting classes and lectures. For students in exam periods, this can be particularly damaging as it can lead to a loss of valuable instruction time. Interruptions to school schedules can also cause strain in the school calendar, requiring modification of syllabi, affecting teaching, and necessitating further catch-up measures.
Loss of essential technological mode of delivery:
Many schools are increasingly reliant on technology for teaching, which presents a major problem during periods of load shedding. During power outages, teachers might be unable to use audio-visual aids, digital presentations, or interactive technologies, which can play a vital role in the educative process. Moreover, internet access may become unavailable, making research and online assessment impossible.
Load shedding also raises concern for pupil and teacher safety. When electric power is down, it can lead to poor or no lighting on the school premises, making the risk of accidents and criminal activity higher.
The impact of load shedding on education is a serious issue, and it’s not only disrupting learning, but also jeopardizing educational outcomes. Students’ ability to acquire the knowledge necessary for them to excel in their studies is being hampered, which in turn could have a ripple effect on the country’s future growth.
To address this issue, schools, education authorities, and the government can take several measures, including:
Backup power or energy storage systems:
Investing in backup power or energy storage systems, such as solar panels or generators, can help schools and educational institutions maintain power during outages.
Schools could also consider adjusting their schedules so that load shedding does not affect important teaching periods, such as exam periods or critical skills tests.
Education on energy conservation:
Teaching learners skills that promote energy conservation and reducing the school’s power consumption could help to keep the lights on for longer during outages. Conscientious use of energy should be encouraged on all levels, including faculty, non-academic staff, and students.
Investment in energy infrastructure:
The South African government should prioritize investment in energy infrastructure to ensure a more reliable electricity supply. This could include upgrading existing infrastructure, investing in smart grids, and investing in renewable energy sources.
It’s important to shine a light on the impact that load shedding is having on education and schools in South Africa. By reporting on this issue, we can inspire change and press stakeholders with the responsibility to take action towards resolving this issue. Ensuring reliable power supply is necessary to provide a conducive environment for the nurturing of learners’ intellectual capabilities, which is key to the growth and development of South Africa.