Embracing e-Learning at Khutliso Daniels

First meeting with the Matric learners at Khutliso Daniels.
First meeting with the Matric learners at Khutliso Daniels.

I had an overwhelming feeling of excitement and motivation when I first entered Khutliso Daniels Secondary School. Meeting and getting to know Avuyile and Siyamthanda and their educational needs was an interesting opportunity. I started off feeling a little anxious and excited at the same time. Might they be open to it? If we gave them SD cards, how would they react to them? I was filled with curiosity and a little nervousness as these questions persisted in my thoughts.

These SD cards were part of the Vulindlela programme. My Writing and Editing service learning class helped load the cards with relevant study materials to assist grade 12 learners at various schools with their learning. We all visited Khutliso to distribute the cards. 

Once I met Avuyile and Siyamthanda, my worries immediately vanished. It was evident that they were genuinely excited about the SD cards. Both students expressed their sincere gratitude, emphasizing how these little devices gave them access to many learning tools.


 "It was great because sometimes you forget what the teacher said in class, but you are happy because you can catch up as soon as you get the information on the SD card," Avuyile said. 


The quick and favourable response cleared up any remaining uncertainties regarding the project's impact and validated the effort that went into it. It demonstrated how effectively the Vulindlela program was working.

sd card

(An SD Card provided to each learner, with their name written on the pack. Photo by Dylan Coetzee.)           

The Vulindlela program runs a campaign each year that gives students offline access to an abundance of educational resources. SD cards are mobile and easy to use, accounting for limited to zero  internet connectivity in many places. In order to ensure that students may study independently and catch up on classes at their own speed, Vulindlela pre-loads these SD cards with study guides, past test papers, supplemental reading materials, and other educational resources. This strategy encourages students to become familiar with digital tools  while simultaneously improving academic results. Additionally, by providing an affordable substitute for standard e-learning tools, the program overcomes the financial obstacles related to them.

Siyamthanda and Avuyile were both fired up and eager to interact with the material on their SD cards. But it wasn't long before underlying problems were identified. Even while SD cards are an excellent tool, some students still struggle to get access to smartphones or other compatible devices. For example, students whose families do not own cell phones are forced to rely on neighbourhood internet cafés, which frequently close early, making it difficult for them to attend Saturday classes. The limitation underlines an important problem that has to be resolved for the Vulindlela program to guarantee fair access to digital learning materials.

Government programmes have provided tablets at a large scale in the past, which have drawn criticism for their high expenses and constrained reach.  The initiative has proven effective in providing essential learning materials at a fraction of the cost of tablets.

With the help of their SD cards, Avuyile and Siyamthanda are making good use of study aids, sample test questions, and additional reading resources. This accessibility is essential, particularly in light of the pandemic's disruptions and lack of in-person instruction. Because the SD cards offer a dependable backup, students can review material and becoming more exam-ready. 

learners interviewed

(Learners being interviewed by Writing and Editing students about their experience)     

Avuyile and Siyamthanda both mentioned how much their educational experiences might be improved by the SD cards. They valued the ease with which they could get thorough study materials. Avuyile reported that his trust and academic performance might increase as a result of being able to review class material on his own. Such comments, which demonstrate the beneficial effects of the Vulindlela program on students' academic journeys, are quite valuable.

As I think back on our initial encounter, I'm struck by how imaginative and small-scale solutions may be used to address big issues in education. The Vulindlela program is a perfect example of how focused interventions, particularly in underserved communities, can close educational inequalities. In the future, resolving the device availability issue will be essential to guaranteeing that every learner can reap the same benefits from the program.