South Africa’s education system is in crisis. A report by Amnesty International1 found that of 100 learners that start school, 50 to 60 will make it to matric, 40 to 50 will pass matric, and only 14 will go to university. This coupled with crumbling infrastructure, poor sanitation, a shortage of qualified teachers, a lack of basic equipment and textbooks, a scarcity of laboratories and libraries, and no access to technology or the internet, have all led to poor learning outcomes and a dire need for innovative solutions.
The report also found that children in the lowest income groups can walk up to an hour to get to school, and classrooms are overcrowded, with as many as 50 learners in one class. Yet according to Businesstech2, on the opposite end of the scale, the top private schools in the country, which are unaffordable to most, cost anywhere from R120 000 to R360 000 per year. This clearly demonstrates the considerable education divide in the country.
But there is another factor in this equation. The deficient education system also causes learners to become despondent, unmotivated and uninspired, and this, too, affects their interest in achieving the desired results. In addition, the combination of difficult subjects, uninspiring teaching practices and a lack of creative support can limit a student’s access to the full benefits of education.
Much still needs to be done to bridge the education divide in South Africa, but one thing is clear: to inspire children to embrace education, psychologists suggest that learning needs to be made fun. Psychologist and author, Aditya Shukla, says that having fun while learning avails unique cognitive resources, associates reward and pleasure with information, strengthens and broadens memory networks, and toggles abstract thinking and focused attention.
While the government has been trying to find ways to improve the education system and be prepared to handle any unforeseen disruptions in the future, an innovative solution was needed and has been created in the form of the Edukite Learning App. This unique mobile app was developed by Edukite based on the company’s intensive work with schools over the last 15 years.
Since technology is at the foundation of most things we do today, it makes sense to use technology to deliver quality education that’s easily accessible, fun, interactive and inclusive, and that makes the ‘difficult’ subjects easier to master. The Edukite Learning App is a complete learning tool that aims to do exactly that.
It has been built for the South African Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS) curriculum, and features inputs from teachers, authors and experts. It is the only app in the country to offer a comprehensive selection of subjects for grades four to 12.
Teachers can’t be expected to explain Electromagnetism to a matric learner, or illustrate the complex interaction of the magnetic and electrical fields when they don’t have the right tools to do so. Mathematics is also a known problem area for learners, so the right support needs to be provided to address this. Using more Pdfs or ‘ebooks’ may simply not be enough.
Digital tools, however, can be used to allow learners to ‘play’ with a sine function graph, change the variables, and see their effects. This is where the Edukite Learning App can bring the classroom alive! Its three-dimensional videos can unlock abstract concepts, and simulations can help learners practise what they know and what they have learnt, using examples that they can connect with easily.
Vineet Ladia, Founder and Director of Edukite South Africa, says, “With the Edukite Learning App, learners have learning at their fingertips, and all they need is a cellphone. Wi-Fi or mobile data is not needed to run the app, meaning there are no data costs, and it is not affected by loadshedding. Learners can also relate to concepts through real-life scenarios in South Africa. The app’s power is in engaging learners by stimulating their interest and giving them the space to learn while having fun. Edukite places the power directly in the learners’ hands.”
The Edukite app makes learning accessible to all learners. Learners can observe experiments that are shown as animated videos, and this fuels their interest. With the 3D animations, the app helps learners to visualise difficult concepts and assimilate them better, and helps them perform challenging experiments with ease.
The app helps teachers simulate experiments and scenarios to grab attention while teaching, and demonstrates complex concepts in a simple manner. Learners also acquire new knowledge by testing diverse scenarios on their own or with their peers.
The app benefits both learners and schools, specifically in boosting matric results, and also prepares matric learners for tertiary education by encouraging self-learning and equipping them with research skills needed at this level.
Edukite is focused on driving transformational change by empowering learners with the tools to enhance their own education and assisting schools to adapt and shift to a new learning environment. The Edukite Learning App may be the ideal tool to bridge the gap between those who have access to quality education and those who don’t. While many improvements are needed in South Africa’s education system, learners now have access to the power of technology to overcome barriers to education, and can do so in a way that is easy, interactive, constantly available, and fun.