Telkom’s e-learning portal offers zero-rated maths, science lessons

Sibahle Malinga
By Sibahle Malinga, ITWeb senior news journalist.
Johannesburg, 16 Jul 2020

Telkom has introduced an online learning portal for primary and high school learners available through edtech platform, Lightbulb Education.

Lightbulb is a mobile learning management system and service which allows education institutions the ability to provide customised online support services to their students.

It provides pupils with online access to subject matter experts and their digital resources, thereby enhancing the learning environment of the users by providing support mechanisms during their studies.

Telkom’s new offering comes as the National Department of Basic Education has adopted a staggered approach in reopening schools after a three-month hiatus as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Most classrooms in SA currently have an average of 50 learners per class with one teacher having to give enough attention to each child.

The COVID-19 crisis has added additional strain to this already tenuous situation with teachers and parents now having to help learners to catch-up on teaching time lost during the lockdown period.

Currently, learners, teachers and parents are using a combination of platforms and material to continue learning at home and to catch-up on the curriculum.

Lightbulb Education says it combines these learning experiences onto one platform. The Telkom platform focuses on mathematics and the sciences for Grade 10 to Grade 12 learners. The syllabus for Grades 7 to 9 will start on 1 August 2020.

The platform can be used seamlessly between school and home.

Wanda Mkhize, executive for content at Telkom, explains: "True to our brand promise of leaving no man behind, the service is offered for free to Telkom customers and we have also zero-rated data for all Telkom customers which means that all customers can access it for free both on mobile and fixed line products."

Telkom says it has also invested in Lightbulb Education through its FutureMakers investment fund, which backs innovative small technology businesses.

Allan Mushabe, CEO and founder of Lightbulb Education, says: “Technology is transforming the way pupils learn exponentially and this partnership with Telkom ushers a new innovative approach to digital education and training.

“Learners are able to cover specific topics by grade, test themselves, and participate in group tutoring sessions. The platform empowers parents to keep track of their children's progress through personalised reports and notifications.”

Teachers can also use the platform to prepare lessons, create tests and assessments, and monitor class progress on learning material.

The telecommunications giant says it predicted the future of education and had already started building platforms in response to this. In 2017, Telkom launched BCX Learn – a platform that offered free online educational content.

“We have long been invested in education as shown by the programmes in the Telkom Foundation where we currently support over 4 000 learners. This platform enables us to reach a lot more learners especially after they have lost out on three months of schooling due to the lockdown,” notes Telkom.