Exploring South African university academics’ level of preparedness for emergency multimodal remote teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic

Christian S. Ugwuanyi, Chinedu I.O. Okeke, Jogymol K. Alex

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The advent of coronavirus disease, COVID-19, in late December 2019 has wreaked havoc on the economic and educational sectors. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, educational institutions were forced to switch from face-to-face to virtual classroom contact. The result was that many academics, particularly university lecturers, turned to remote teaching as a means to continue with academic responsibilities under lockdown regulations. The researchers opted to investigate the level of preparedness of academics for remote teaching in the faculties of education because there was a paucity of literature on the subject. This study used a phenomenological case study research design with a sample of 28 academics from the faculties of education. The universities in South Africa were located in the provinces of Gauteng, the Free State, and the Eastern Cape. The researchers used a validated interview schedule to collect qualitative data. The trustworthiness of the interview guide was ensured by giving it to experts to provide constructive criticism. The data were examined using thematic analysis. The findings demonstrated that the majority of the academics in the education faculties lacked the necessary preparation for distant teaching and learning, because neither academics nor students received any support as they transitioned from routine to unusual working conditions. It was also discovered that the necessary infrastructure was initially not prepared to facilitate remote teaching and learning. Since they expected the lockdown to only last a few months, some academics indicated they were unprepared and found the situation to be extremely stressful. This suggests that during the COVID-19 pandemic, the majority of university academics were ineffective at implementing emergency multimodal remote instruction. For the efficient implementation of remote teaching, university academics must receive suitable and thorough in-service training.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-88
Number of pages12
JournalPerspectives in Education
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • COVID-19 pandemic
  • emergency multimodal remote teaching
  • level of preparedness
  • South African university academics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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