MTN Online School helps thousands of learners catch up

Sibahle Malinga
By Sibahle Malinga, ITWeb senior news journalist.
Johannesburg, 02 Feb 2022

MTN SA Foundation says its online school has garnered over 24 000 users, and it is working to ensure more learners have access to the suite of curriculum-aligned educational content offered via its e-learning portal.

In October, MTN announced it had invested over R12 million in establishing the MTN Online School, a free integrated online educational portal, developed in partnership with the Department of Basic Education and the National Education Collaboration Trust.

The zero-rated portal provides access to curriculum-aligned educational content for grades R to 12.

The pandemic had a devastating impact on the 2020 and 2021 academic calendars, after millions of learners were thrust into a virtual learning environment they were ill-prepared for.

Internet connectivity issues and slow access to learning devices were among the key challenges that compromised the quality of education for local learners, since the introduction of SA’s lockdown regulations.

As part of its strategy to bridge the digital divide in the education sector, the telco says it is increasing access to the virtual school’s e-learning portal, by strengthening its relationship with the provincial departments of education and donating tablets to disadvantaged leaners.

The telco has also introduced additional features on the portal, including video lessons, assessments and extra-tuition lessons for Grade 10 to 12 learners. It has also included e-learning tools to help learners with special education needs to adapt to using a digital platform.

“Our commitment to SA education and specifically to online schooling continues in the new school year and we are proud to build on our strong association with the provincial departments of education to continue offering access to high-quality, curriculum-aligned digital tools and digital support in the new year,” says Kusile Mtunzi-Hairwadzi, GM of the MTN SA Foundation.

The online school is available via the MTN website or the MTN Online School mobile app, which can be downloaded from the Android and Apple app stores. The app can be used by a teacher during a classroom lesson, or by a learner on their own.

This initiative is in line with MTN Group’s over-arching “Ambition 2025” strategy to be ahead of the curve in providing digital solutions that advance education, skills and jobs, notes the telco.

SA’s education system is undergoing a digital revamp, as government looks to equip every school child with digital workbooks and textbooks on a tablet device by 2026.

The foundation’s provincial activations include the sponsorship of 50 tablets to help learners in Grade 10 access online education – from schools selected by the provincial MECs of the Departments of Education, in partnership with the MTN SA regional offices.

“The MTN Online School portal is a powerful but accessible solution aimed at taking education to the next level. While we plan to continue improving and enhancing the portal this year, our recent Summer School initiative, which drove access to the portal and offered additional support for those learners wanting to get a head start on their studies, was a success. We look forward to offering this solution to thousands more children in the year ahead,” adds Mtunzi-Hairwadzi.

A full content library will be added to the virtual school and made available over a period of three years, focusing on key subjects, says MTN.