CityPress - - News - SIZWE SAMA YENDE sizwe.yende@city­press.co.za

n ed­u­ca­tion fairy tale is un­fold­ing in a poor, re­mote Mpumalanga vil­lage on the bor­der of Swaziland.

The in­tro­duc­tion of sim­ple tablet com­put­ers six months ago to the chil­dren in Sohlazane Pri­mary School in the vil­lage of Nh­lazat­she has dra­mat­i­cally im­proved their math­e­mat­ics re­sults. They have boosted their An­nual Na­tional As­sess­ment (ANA) re­sults four­fold – from 10% to 40%.

“The ANA used to beat us,” said Sohlazane prin­ci­pal Ma­maki Luphoko from her mod­est of­fice. “But we saw a marked im­prove­ment in the ANA we wrote last year.

“It is only 15 tablets that we have, but the im­pact is be­yond our ex­pec­ta­tions.”

Sohlazane is one of three schools to ben­e­fit from text­book pub­lisher Via Afrika Dig­i­tal Ed­u­ca­tion Cen­tre’s ini­tia­tive. It has also been in­tro­duced in Tha­bantsho Pri­mary School in Bochum, Lim­popo, and Itume­leng Pri­mary School in Oden­daal­srus in the Free State.

In all these schools, Via Afrika gave their con­tainer li­braries 15 An­droid tablets and pro­vided 3G con­nec­tiv­ity. Teach­ers were then trained in the ins and outs of e-books and e-learn­ing. The school’s ANA maths re­sults shot up from an av­er­age of 17% to 51% in only six months.

Luphoko said the teach­ers were also trained in the mi­gra­tion from text­books to tablets.

For both the chil­dren and the teach­ers, the dig­i­tal li­brary is a place of plea­sure.

“I think they like us­ing the tablets more than sit­ting in a class be­cause they see videos and other things. So they con­cen­trate and do well,” said Grade 5 maths teacher Ma­nia Gininda.

“What­ever they do in class, they come and re­peat here … it’s like re­vi­sion for them. I think it en­cour­ages them to see the ticks

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