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Fit for Purpose: Using a Distance Education Approach to Support Underperforming Schools in South Africa

Veronica Irene McKay


This article explores the South African government’s national school workbook intervention aimed at addressing poor learner performance in the context of teacher under-preparedness and curriculum reform. It shows how the workbooks use a distance education approach to provide pedagogical and content support for teachers, albeit in the context of classroom teaching, to compensate for teachers’ pedagogical challenges. This article uses a mixed methods research approach to explore how teachers, learners and parents used the workbooks and shows that while the distance educational design scaffolded teaching, additional support is necessary to enable the intervention to be more impactful. 


workbooks; resource-based learning; distance education; underperforming schools; teacher competence

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