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Mwabu Academy launches innovative e-learning content for primary schools

Mwabu Academy, in partnership with MRP Foundation, has made a major commitment to the South African market in terms of its extensive curriculum-focused online content, with plans to introduce translations in local languages, as it has successfully done in Zambia.
Mwabu Academy launches innovative e-learning content for primary schools
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The educational technology company recently launched its Mwabu Academy and innovative e-learning content in South Africa. Curriculum-focused content has already been introduced, via Mwabu educational tablets, in four schools in KwaZulu-Natal through the company’s partnership with The MRP Foundation. These include St Christopher’s; Nyakana; Aldinville and Zilungisele. Teacher training was conducted in April through the Mwabu Academy.

The introduction of the Academy’s enriched learning curriculum in South Africa has begun with Grade 4 maths, science and English and will grow to include Grades 5 and 6 in 2018.

Part of what makes Mwabu unique is the depth of its enriched learning material, tailored for the markets in which it operates. “The e-learning delves into topics providing example after example, guiding learners,” says Erik Lӧnnroth, director of product at Mwabu.

KwaZulu-Natal trial

“The MRP Foundation Schools programme hosted the Mwabu Academy during its inaugural educator training in South Africa. The educators were exposed to groundbreaking content in maths, as well as natural science and technology. The Mwabu trainers were fantastic, evidenced by the great level of engagement and enthusiasm from the educators who attended," says Karen Wells, MRP Foundation manager.

Schools have come a long way since Mwabu was first introduced, with teachers already making effective use of the content in their Grade 4 Maths classes of up to 80 learners and more. Senior educationalist, Helen Radford, observed a class with 89 learners barely able to contain their enthusiasm to participate in interactive quizzes. “Learners actively participate by predicting answers, cheering when their classmates are correct and groaning good-naturedly when they are not.”

A full range of learning objectives is covered in the enriched e-learning content. Each unit of the e-learning follows a set structure in which there is an introduction, explanation of concept and a core activity graded according to easy, medium and hard level.

Network of support for teachers

The Mwabu Academy is a centre for excellence when it comes to developing and supporting teachers. Through the Academy, teachers are involved in continuous learning to help them make the most of its products.

“The focus is on assisting teachers to raise the learning outcomes of learners through enriched student-teacher engagement, while helping to upskill teachers at the same time,” says Eleanor Sykes, head of the Mwabu Academy.

The Academy further provides enriched learning for teachers through training and observation visits as well as the development of action plans. An intelligent interconnected network of teachers, learners and parents, who share best practice with one another, provides long-term support.

Resources available to teachers include comprehensive lesson plans, interactive lessons and highly useful teacher’s tips.

Excellent results in Zambia

Mwabu’s e-learning content and Academy has already delivered impressive results within the Zambian market. Multi-year studies were conducted in rural areas across the country comparing the progress of Mwabu learners with other control classes.

The study found a considerable improvement in the literacy level of Mwabu schools in just one year when compared with the control group schools. Numeracy skills were also significantly better, with the average gain in performance for Mwabu pupils over one year 16% greater than that of the control group pupils.

Evidence also shows that Mwabu-trained teachers deliver child-centred lessons that are more engaging. In Mwabu classes 50% of teachers used songs, games or stories compared to just 25% in the control group. Similarly, 40% of Mwabu teachers asked follow up questions when pupils gave the right answer, while none did this in the control group.

Lӧnnroth believes that the educational technology market in South Africa is perfectly placed for disruption. “While South Africa is one of the more advanced markets in Africa when it comes to educational technology, it’s also in dire need of educational innovation.

“Ultimately, our vision is for school pupils across Africa to benefit from a quality education and to make a difference in the lives of 100 million learners on the continent,” he concludes.

Vison to change Africa’s foundational education

Formerly known as iSchool, the brand offers a full ecosystem of educational products and services into African markets, including core services such as the development of curriculum aligned teaching and learning resources, devices and hardware, as well as its Training Academy. Its clients include teachers, schools, parents, NGOs, donors and governments. Its vision is for pupils across Africa to benefit from a quality education, equipping them to access new opportunities and driving forward the development of the continent. To date Mwabu has influenced over 200 000 lives.

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