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Towards bridging the digital divide in post-apartheid South Africa: a case of a historically disadvantaged university in Cape Town

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- Enablers
- Challenges

- Digital Literacy And Skills

Author(s): Lena Nyahodza and Richard Higgs

This paper reports on a master’s study undertaken to explore whether the electronic services initiated in post-apartheid South Africa by University of the Western Cape (UWC) Library are perceived by primary stakeholders (users and library staff) as effective in bridging the digital divide. The study employed a phenomenological qualitative design, supported by critical theory. Purposive sampling was used to select two sets of samples for data collection: postgraduate students and UWC librarians. Data was collected from forty students through an online questionnaire, and interviews were held with six UWC librarians. Findings suggest that the UWC Library has emerged as a competent agent of democracy: most of the users perceive the e-services being offered as useful and meeting their needs, and the library currently provides ICT infrastructure, internet access and information-related skills programmes to support the university community. However, challenges encountered include slow internet connection, security concerns, shortcomings in information literacy, problems of access andaccessibility (including language), and reluctance to engage with unfamiliar technology.


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Country of Study:
South Africa,

Study Quality