Sustainable development means that the fulfillment of our present needs as a generation should not compromise the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. A big part of this conversation over the years has revolved around reducing our carbon footprint by reducing pollution. Part of this pollution comes from the waste produced by certain industries including education. For a long time most education institutions have heavily realised on paper and plastic to create education materials. However, with the advent and popularisation of education technology globally, we are beginning to see the gradual reduction in waste produced by educational institutions.
Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) which include computers, tablets, televisions, radio and more have begun to play a very important role in sustainable teaching methods. For example, the use of soft copy books for study instead of hardcopy books that require the use of a large amount of paper. Additionally, with the advent of COVID-19 most learners across the country had to rely on radio and their smartphones, tablets and computers to access education. This has accelerated the digitization of the education system in countries world over but especially developing countries such as South Africa.
Edtech and sustainability go hand in hand and can be tackled together. When the government and business institutions see the edtech project as a sustainability project that not only gives this generation access to education but preserves our resources for the next generation.
Ofcourse, the production of electronics still contributes greatly to global warming and a variety of other sustainability issues. However, when weighed against the pollution caused by waste versus paperless institutions using devices that last for years and can be recycled, the argument for Edtech wins. Institutions can also make educated choices in the type of electronics that they buy so that they are able to serve their particular needs over a longer period of time. An example of this is plastic tablets at a primary school would not make sense as children are less responsible with electronics, therefore more durable tablets would last longer. Whereas if an institution is catering for teenagers or adults then they can afford to buy cheaper brands as these people are more responsible and the products will last longer.