Media and Information Literacy in South Africa: Goals and Tools
The South African government has emphasized the need to expand the role of media education to promote equal access, with a level of quality and relevance that will empower disadvantaged groups. However, it is a challenging, time-consuming process, as well as requiring considerable and consistent expenditure and partnerships between many donor agencies. There is little research on the causes behind unequal access to technology, or comparative studies of the barriers that impede the diffusion and adoption of media and information literacy in South Africa. It is thus not surprising that the media and information literacy component is still missing from the agenda that lists Africa’s myriad problems, as well as the absence of qualified teachers, training for the trainers and the presence of IT literacy in the curricula, all of which are essential elements for any future development. The UNESCO model of curricula could help close the digital divide and promote social inclusion. As a contribution to that goal, this study investigates some of the pertinent issues related to media and information literacy via a sample of students at the University of Cape Town. This research offers some practical solutions on how to help raise the levels of media and information literacy among the disadvantaged, in the case in South Africa.