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Thembisa primary school learners embrace e-learning devices

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Sage Foundation’s Yvette Chochoe (left) and Attacq Foundation’s Shoky Poto (right) are flanked by Phuthumani Primary School learners.
Sage Foundation’s Yvette Chochoe (left) and Attacq Foundation’s Shoky Poto (right) are flanked by Phuthumani Primary School learners.

Phuthumani Primary School in Thembisa has become the first primary school to rollout e-learning devices powered by local edtech solution, Odin Education.

The primary school’s learners join 2 500 high school learners from 12 schools in five provinces – Western Cape, Free State, Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo – that make use of the edtech devices.

Odin Education provides schools with a software and hardware solution, specifically developed for pupils in SA. Its tablet device, named Omang, which means ‘identity’ in Sesotho, will be utilised by 196 learners at Phuthumani primary from grade five through to grade seven.

The Sage Foundation, in partnership with the Attacq Foundation, sponsored the Thembisa school with the Odin-powered devices. The sponsorship represents a three-year commitment to equip the learners with the digital learning tools they need to progress successfully through the different grades.

Thando Mbelwa, deputy principal at Phuthumani Primary School, says most of the school’s 1 400 learners come from poverty-stricken families and rely on the national school nutrition programme for one nutritious daily meal.

“I strongly believe it is important to expose the learners to the digital devices at a young age, in order to prepare them for the digital world as much as we can, since some of the parents cannot afford digital devices,” says Mbelwa.

Each learner has received a personalised tablet pre-loaded with curriculum-aligned content, educational apps and learning platforms. The device is also pre-loaded with data and is WiFi-enabled, to allow learners to connect to the internet and use the online learning platforms. Other content such as pre-loaded notes, books and old exam papers are all available offline.

Teachers have access to a desktop management system to upload essential resources like notes, videos and other teaching materials that are pushed to the learners’ devices.

Odin Education also provided the learners and teachers with two days of training on how the devices operate.

According to Attacq Foundation, which focuses on sustainable education and training, it is important to bring technology into the schools, as it will bring a positive change, and learning will not be limited by time and space.

“Working closely with Odin Education and Attacq Foundation will make a significant contribution to digital inclusion and equity by supporting ICT-powered learning at Phuthumani Primary School,” says Sonia Tshabalala, people director for Sage Africa and Middle East.

Ajit Gopalakrishnan, head of Odin Education, comments that the commitment of corporate partners is key to ensuring the rollout of digital devices to more schools countrywide.

“This programme has a real, measurable impact. It offers a win-win solution for under-resourced schools, and corporates looking to invest sustainably in their communities while improving their B-BBEE scorecard.”

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