TELECOMMUNICATIONS group MTN has launched its MTN Online School, a free online portal that will offer a digital curriculum for school children from grades R-12.
The online school, which the Department of Basic Education has endorsed, offers additional features like video lessons, assessments and extra-tuition lessons for Grade 10 to 12 learners.
The school will also focus on areas such as financial skills, entrepreneurship, arts and culture, and career guidance content, focusing on critical careers where there are skills shortages in South Africa.
Among the key innovations are video lessons that will be provided with a sign language interpreter to accommodate deaf learners.
The portal includes an introduction to the early childhood development curriculum and African storytelling, with over 2,000 stories, to equip children with good reading skills and improve confidence, enabling them to learn and read independently.
The Thursday launch of the online school in Sandton was attended by the Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga, MTN SA CEO Godfrey Motsa, O’Sullivan, MTN SA’s Executive for Corporate Affairs and MTN Foundation SA’s General Manager, Kusile Mtunzi-Hairwadzi.
Motshekga said it was imperative to eliminate digital divide by ensuring that all schools and education offices have access to internet and data within 6 years.
“During this period, all learners must access digital workbooks & textbooks on a digital device,” said Motshekga.
“Together with the innovation and commitment to societal change by MTN, today’s launch of the MTN Online School is a significant leap forward for education and ushers in positive change for communities across South Africa,” she said.
The integrated online educational portal is supported and housed on the MTN network and is zero data rated for MTN customers, which means it can be used without any data, said Motsa.
“We believe in the future of SA and the education of the future generation, which needs to accelerate its recovery from the economic and personal devastation of COVID-19 to embrace future opportunities made available through quality education and learning. The MTN Online School has been developed hand-in-glove with the Department of Basic Education and we are so proud to deliver this portal that will immediately start creating value, for South Africans.”
Mtunzi-Hairwadzi said the company planned to establish other similar online schools across the African continent.
“We would like to establish the online schools beyond South African borders to the rest of the African continent,” said Mtunzi-Hairwadzi.
“We want to build a world class platform. We are going to invest R12 million to upgrade and invest in teacher support and curriculum digitisation.”
O’Sullivan said: “MTN is investing in technology, digital innovation and financial solutions aimed at enhancing lives and creating better outcomes for all.”
“We are extremely excited to welcome SA’s youth to our new e-learning portal today. We intend to ensure it is underpinned by continuous innovation to stay at the forefront of world-class education. It also exemplifies our ambition to accelerate digital transformation through building exciting, innovative and solution-oriented platform businesses in South Africa,” says O’Sullivan.
Additional features for FET Phase (Grade 10 -12) include:
- Support to learners after-school, on weekends, during school holidays and dedicated lessons leading up to exams
- A timetable to drive transparency and structure
- Learners can work at their own pace as lessons will be available on-demand
- Online tutoring service will be provided to learners via a help function interface
- Pre-assessments (test existing knowledge)
- Pre-recorded lessons to watch
- Tutoring sessions
- Feedback questions to work through
- Live sessions presented by a teacher, recap of key concepts, focus on weak areas identified by assessments
- Post assessments
- Learner analysis reports
- Learners can also request help at any time, or submit questions via the platform or WhatsApp chat line.
- Inside Education