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Bridging the digital divide in schools through subscription-based technology

It was way back in 2012 when government introduced the use of tablets in the schooling system. While their efforts to modernise and improve education have borne some fruit, there remains a significant gap in learners who can afford or get access to digital devices. One of the major barriers to access is the cost of the tablets - both for the learners and the schools.
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Image by April Bryant from Pixabay

According to Mishaan Ratan, chief marketing officer at Rentoza, an alternative solution exists for schools and learners. “Subscribing to technological devices will elevate this financial burden, allowing schools and individuals to rather pay a recurring monthly fee instead of paying it all at once and then owning a depreciating asset.”

Ratan says a Randburg-based school has already begun using Rentoza’s subscription model to fund R500,000 worth of technology at the cost of only R20,000 – including insurance, warranties, and the ability to upgrade when the technology becomes out of date.

Access to resources

Ratan says subscribing to technological devices can give students greater access to educational resources. With a device and internet access, learners can access numerous online resources, including digital textbooks, educational apps, and video tutorials. Additionally, even students in remote areas or those with limited resources can access the same high-quality educational materials as their peers in more well-resourced areas.

He says subscribing also presents a unique advantage for teachers as it can make teaching more efficient and flexible. With a device, teachers can access online teaching resources such as lesson plans and interactive whiteboards to help them plan and deliver more effective lessons. Using online platforms for assignments and assessments can save teachers time and allow them to provide more personalised feedback to their students.

"In addition to this, he says subscription is entirely flexible. “If schools feel they can’t afford the products, they can just cancel it and return the product with no penalty fees at all, unlike other consumption methods,” Ratan says."

He says another bonus of subscription is that added costs like insurance and maintenance are bundled in. “When you own a product, you are responsible for it, and its value depreciates. When you need to upgrade, you must go through the whole cycle again, whereas, with a subscription, schools can upgrade whenever you want. All we do is swap out the product for the one you want. We also manage the technological devices, so all the schools have to focus on is using the device.”

“Accessibility is at the heart of our business; we want everyone to be able to access the products they need, including teachers and learners at schools, regardless of whether they're private, public, or semi-government schools,” Ratan concludes.

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