Updated: Apr 6, 2021
Edulution is a digital learning social enterprise that runs numeracy and literacy programs in Zambia and Namibia. On 31st March 2021 at an event hosted by Hlengimpilo Full Service School, the Department of Basic Education officially launched Edulution's numeracy programme to disadvantaged schools in the Pinetown District of Inanda in Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa.
Director of Curriculum for Kwazulu-Natal, Ms. Thembile Dlamini in the key note address at the launch event said, “Its time to introduce innovative solutions like Edulution to education. Integrating ICT learning into the education system is a key strategic imperative for government. Educators need to prepare themselves for this shift. Those teachers fortunate enough to be exposed to the Edulution programme should use the opportunity to prepare themselves for what the future of learning offers."
Chief Director of Curriculum for Kwazulu-Natal, Ms. Thembile Dlamini
The Department of Basic Education (DBE) has undertaken several initiatives aimed at promoting equity and improving the quality of education in previously disadvantaged schools, including rural schools; and the DBE aims to increase the number of learners in grades 3, 6, and 9 who have mastered the minimum competencies in language and numeracy to 90 percent.
The DBE recently emphasised its commitment to education by signing a Memorandum of Agreement with the Sesego Foundation to support a during- and after-school numeracy pilot program for primary school learners in Kwazulu-Natal created and managed by Edulution. The aim of the Edulution Program is to ensure learners enter high school with a solid foundation in mathematics so that they are able to choose STEM subjects and are not limited by poor maths skills. This aim is achieved by providing opportunities for learners to revise and master essential numeracy and ITC skills, to become more self-directed and confident and in turn, allow teachers to better deliver their curriculum objectives.
Additional objectives of the program are to reduce unemployment and promote enterprise development in rural communities by providing jobs for young people to become coaches. Coaches facilitate the journey of the learners. At the conclusion of the 24 month pilot, Edulution aims to demonstrate how the program can be successfully scaled up to reach thousands of learners in all nine provinces across the country.
Speakers at the event included senior leadership from Edulution and the Sesego Foundation and representatives from the National and Provincial Departments of Education, the Principal of Hlengimpilo Full Service School, a senior member of the school's Governing Body and representatives from the teacher unions SADTU and NATU.
Director of the Rural Education Directorate at the Department of Basic Education, Dr P Langa said: “Thank you for allowing us to be a part of this wonderful initiative."
Head of Key Stakeholder Engagement and Government Relations at Edulution, Mr. Richard Akwei: “We firmly believe that South Africa can be the showcase to other countries in the region of what is possible in terms of adopting innovative new learning solutions in public/ private partnerships. We have opened 7 centres in Inanda in the last month and are now reaching more than 1680 learners. We will open another 3 centres before the end of April in Inanda and a further 10 centres in other rural schools later in the year. Our long term plan is to reach thousands of learners in all nine provinces across the country.”
Director of the Sesego Foundation, Ms. Nomsa Daniels expressed her gratitude towards the DBE and the Rural Directorate for their support in embracing this programme. “To the Department of Basic Education and all our partners, thank you for your faith and belief in us.”
Pinetown District Director of Education, Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa, Ms P Radebe commented, "While numerous programmes have come and gone, the Edulution programme has a long standing and proven track record of positively improving learning outcomes across marginalised communities. I can assure the Department of Basic Education that the schools in the Pinetown District will offer their full support to the programme."
Pinetown Circuit Manager of Education, Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa, Mr R Shangase reached out to those in attendance saying, "We need to embrace the change that Edulution offers. We cannot keep doing the same thing and expect different results. Educators and members of the community need to whole heartedly embrace the Edulution programme.”
The Principal of Hlengimpilo Primary School in Inanda, Kwazulu-Natal, Mr Mpungose commented, "Covid-19 has reminded us that the imbalances of the past are still with us. The most vulnerable have been hurt the most through lost learning. Edulution brings hope to previously disadvantaged schools with its programme in that it can bridge the gap between those who do not have access to effective digital learning and those who do."
Learners of Hlengimpilo school celebrated the arrival of Edulution at their school, "In our lives maths plays a very important role. Without it, it is very difficult to survive. Thank you Edulution for bringing your maths programme to our school."
Since its establishment in 2015, Edulution has provided opportunities for over 12,500 learners in Grades 4 to 7 and has achieved impressive results due to its unique combination of technology, exciting curriculum-aligned content, effective coaching and a comprehensive performance measurement system. In Zambia, an independent evaluation conducted by the Swiss Educational Innovation Network, showed that Edulution Grade 7 learners are outperforming their peers by 20% in the national maths exams.
The Edulution program caters for groups of 40 learners. Each group is supported by two coaches who facilitate peer-to-peer learning. Learners make use of tablets to do their initial baseline tests and work at their own pace to master each level of the program before moving on to the next. Furthermore, engagement with the Edulution digital platform enhances the learner’s technology skills, better positioning them to become active participants in a 4th industrial revolution driven by technology. In essence, this solution is a glimpse into the future of learning.