Digital learning has been an essential tool in improving learning for the youth through online courses, and tutoring services, among others. It is easy to use and access to uploaded educational content on the internet gives individuals the opportunity to go through the content again which is helpful for revision purposes. The Covid-19 pandemic resulted in a rapid change in the education system globally, schools were shut and a few months later online learning was introduced as a solution to this crisis. For developing and undeveloped countries this solution created challenges that required immediate solutions to provide every learner/student with an equal opportunity to access online learning. These challenges include the lack of digital literacy which is why PAICTA saw a need to create platforms that assist in curbing these challenges.
PAICTA introduces the Pamoja Digital Learning Portal (P2DL) to help equip young people by empowering both teachers and learners with emerging technology 4IR skills and smart learning from disadvantaged schools also offering Cisco online courses. ‘P2DL aims to bridge the gap between disadvantaged communities and technology, advocating for the poor, and equipping them technologically’ says Phumela Rafane, a website developer at PAICTA.
PAICTA values equipping young people with STEM subjects(Science, technology, engineering, & mathematics) in rural and peri-rural communities with digital skills and opportunities that will help bridge the digital gap in South Africa and the African continent. There is no doubt that African countries face a crisis in STEM education, it has been reported that SA has a shortage of qualified stem-related personnel. This proves that school students lack the necessary knowledge to pursue further studies in STEM and careers in these academic disciplines, particularly those from under-served communities.
P2DL assists grade 12 learners with learning material, and teacher and tutor assistance in the STEM disciplines, it also has content related to English and Accounting subjects. It offers other opportunities such as providing career guidance, equipping and preparing learners for higher learning institutions, access to online university and bursary applications, past examination papers, and a subject selector to guide pupils on courses that they qualify for. The portal can also benefit lower grades in high school, they have an opportunity to learn about digital and technology-related trends that will improve their skills and knowledge. And lastly, it has a push alert button, where learners can report cyberbullying or other issues that have a negative impact on their personal/school lives.