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By Michael Tome
ECONET Wireless Zimbabwe subsidiary, Akello, has launched a digital learning platform to broaden access to learning opportunities for millions of school children across Africa.
The facility intends to increase access to education across sub-Saharan Africa and level up the digital learning field by offering products that target learners from early childhood learning stages up to young adults at the point of developing professional skills.
Akello will offer digital products aligned to national curriculums, which will be delivered as Akello Smart Learning and Akello Pre-School.The company will also be rolling out additional products soon, among them Akello Library, Akello Hub and Akello Quiz.
Akello chief executive officer Elizabeth Masiyiwa, said the innovation aims to grow access to education across sub-Saharan Africa by creating a fair digital learning field for students.
“Akello seeks to address the digital divide among school going age by transforming and elevating the way young Africans learn by ensuring digital access to education from wherever they may be on the African continent.
“We are excited to offer Akello Smart Learning, a revolutionary product providing an interactive digital learning platform experience for primary and high school learners, along with Akello Pre-School, a seamless learning platform for early years’ educators, tutors and home-schooling parents, which allows ease of teaching and learning,” said Ms Masiyiwa.
According to Ms Masiyiwa, two-thirds of sub-Saharan African youth between the ages five and 24 are considered under-educated due to limited access to learning opportunities.
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Akello General Manager Vimbai Gwata, indicated that Akello’s strategy endeavours to come up with quality online learning products that will be accessible to all Africans to combat the negative effects brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“(Following) the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdowns, learners more than ever before require alternative learning tools to help them advance their education,” said Ms Gwata.
Akello digital learning platform is positioned to tackle the gap created by missed learning opportunities, whether they are due to the existing shortage of physical textbooks and teachers or due to the impact of the lockdowns on learners across the continent.
According to GSMA, a mobile operators trade body, approximately three-quarters of the population in sub-Saharan Africa 747 million people have a mobile connection but only a third of these – 250 million – use a smartphone.
In 2019, only 10 out of 45 African countries tracked by the Alliance for Affordable Internet were able to afford internet connectivity (defined as 1GB of mobile prepaid data costing 2 percent or less of the average monthly income).