Digital inequalities in rural schools in South Africa

Nkosinathi Martin Duma, Siza Mlambo, Sinenhlanhla Mbambo-Mkwanazi, Willard Morgan


It has been argued that advancements in digitalisation and enhancement of digital development could be beneficial for rural schools. However, digital inequalities persist and affect rural schools since little attention has been paid to the specific conditions rural schools find themselves in when facing continuous digital developments.

This paper aims at revealing the facts related to the status of the digital inequalities in rural schools in South Africa. Data was collected by means of the desk research, whereby researchers reviewed existing literature pertaining to digital inequalities in rural schools in South Africa, in Namibia and in some developed countries for cross referencing and triangulation purposes.


After review of data from secondary sources, the study found out that lack of digital literacy on the side of the rural teachers can lead to accessibility and knowledge differences among learners and furthermore it was found that the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) equipment and digital literacy training in rural schools are very much dependent on luck: pupils depend on the socioeconomic status of their respective rural school. Considering the prevailing circumstances, through this paper it is recommended that there is a need for the state to invest in necessary infrastructure namely the ICT sector to provide for the driving of digital transformation and facilitate skills development programmes for teachers to ensure that they have the needed skills to utilise modern technology more effectively.


rural schools; digital developments; digital inequalities; digital literacy; ICT equipment.

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