Educational specialist, Professor Nosisi Feza, says the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) in the educational sector will be a huge challenge.

She says South Africa is still battling to perfect the Third Industrial Revolution, especially in rural schools.

This as the Department of Basic Education is currently training thousands of teachers in coding, with the subject set to be piloted in a thousand schools across five provinces starting in 2020.

Feza says the implementation of advanced technology will be a burden on the already overworked teachers.

“In rural schools, there are lots of challenges in terms of rolling out, using technology in teaching and learning and also training teachers very well on how to use this technology. I think we need to take a breath as a country and stop trending and focus on who we are and where we are and develop from where we are because we are going to make mistakes that are similar to one’s have done in the past.”

The South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) General-Secretary, Mugwena Maluleka says they share Feza’s sentiments. However, he says the 4IR in schools is possible if government shows commitment.

“It is going to take a political wave from the government and everyone else in ensuring that teachers in the rural areas are also given the support that is necessary for us to be taking advantage of the improvements in terms of technology as brought by the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”

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Last week, President Cyril Ramaphosa says the fourth industrial Revolution does offer opportunities for job creation in South Africa – despite fears the digitisation and automation of work has already cost large numbers of jobs.

Companies have looked to technology for greater efficiencies and profitability, which has led to lay offs and job cuts.

President Ramaphosa says there is room for optimism.