The Future of Education

Edition 14

Accepted Abstracts

Digital Transformation Inequality in South African Secondary Schools Affecting the implementation of 4IR Era relevant Curriculum

Rachel Tholakele Khoza, University of Johannesburg, Department of Commercial Accounting, Soweto Campus, (South Africa)


The process of changing how work is organized in response to the advent of cutting-edge digital technology and business models is referred to as "digital transformation." Digital transformation includes aligning digital technology, organizational elements, and human aspects rather than only implementing a technological solution. Major technology advancements and a reliance on digital platforms for business have defined the 21st century. The knowledge economy's vocations and the fourth iteration of education place more focus on how people use their digital skills, knowledge, and technology in an interoperable way while requiring workers to understand fewer concepts and theories. This study examines the effects of digitization on South African secondary school education, particularly in light of the country's high inequality and exclusion rates, as well as its poor funding, lack of adequate staffing, lack of adequate skills, and lack of a clear, comprehensive national strategy from the Department of Basic Education. The study maps the challenges faced by South African secondary schools regarding digital transformation and how inequality affects the implementation of  curriculum that is relevant to the 4IR ERA. The study contributes to the ongoing discussions on how South African secondary schools can take advantage of new technologies.  Data collection for the study is ongoing and follows a mixed methods approach which strikes a balance between the breadth of challenges faced by secondary schools due to digital transformation inequality as well as in-depth understanding of the way schools are handling these challenges. Twenty-nine years since attaining independence, South Africa is still a very unequal society with most people living in abject poverty and high levels of unemployment. The four evils (inequality, poverty, unemployment, and gender-based violence) faced by South Africa continue to make quality education inaccessible to many and chances of accessing digital tools nearly impossible.  Some indicators of inequality in education are literacy levels, school completion rates, student-to-teacher ratios, the quantity, and credentials of instructors, and the accessibility of various resources.  There is a need to assess the effect of inequality in South African secondary school curriculum relevant in the 4IR Era.



Digital Transformation, Inequality, Curriculum Development, 4IR, Department of Education,  Secondary Schools




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[4] World Economic Forum (2019) Why We Need the “Davos Manifesto” for a Better Kind of Capitalism.  Available online:">




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