User registration on telecommunications group Vodacom’s e-School platform is nearing one-million as South Africa’s schools remained closed.
With the outbreak of Covid-19, all schools, universities and other educational institutions suspended operations from March 18 with no indication of when they would reopened, leaving parents scrambling for alternative methods to help their children continue learning.
“The outbreak of Covid-19 has caused immense disruption in schooling throughout South Africa, as President Cyril Ramaphosa announced an extended school holidays for schools in an effort to curb the spread of the viral disease to schooling populations and local communities,” said Vodacom Group corporate affairs chief officer Takalani Netshitenzhe.
On March 27, South Africa subsequently entered into a total national lockdown period of 21 days.
In an effort to minimise the disruption to education, Vodacom is offering online classes, which includes assignments, quizzes and interactive learning videos fully aligned to the Department of Basic Education (DBE) National Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement, for Grade 1 to 12 learners in all 11 South African languages.
The online digital education portal, initially launched in 2014 in partnership with the DBE, is accessible by mobile and desktop.
“Supporting education is the main focus of the Vodacom Foundation so we are encouraged by the phenomenal growth of new subscribers signing up on the free e-School learning platform.”
User registrations on the platform increased over 1 000% compared with previous historic periods, with a “massive sudden increase” in registration since March 15.
Vodacom e-School went from an average of 40 000 student events a day to a peak of close to 150 000, fuelled by a strong uptake from learners in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo and Mpumalanga.
Content use increased by 300% over previous averages, with Mathematics, Natural Sciences and Accounting topping the charts.
The growth in registrations and use is expected to continue, as the platform addresses a critical societal need.
“Our e-School platform is in line with Vodacom's ongoing drive to help provide information and communication technology tools and Internet connectivity to communities that do not have access. By providing access to Internet services to improve the standard of education, Vodacom is able to uplift learners and the quality of education in our country as it gears up for the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” Netshitenzhe said.
The content is available freely, however, while Vodacom customers can assess the content free of charge, customers from other networks will incur data charges for logging on to the site.