Maths program to help pupils, teachers to be rolled out by education venture
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Johannesburg - Teachers and pupils have been given a boost with a free subscription to an international digital maths program.
The program will initially be rolled out to about 500 schools in Gauteng and the Western Cape from the start of the third term, but details about the rollout are still unclear.
Head Start Education (HSE) has partnered with SplashLearn to make the R5 000 product available to all teachers for free.
In recent years South Africa’s poor mathematics output has been slammed widely in educational sectors.
Four years ago, the World Economic Forum ranked the country’s primary education at 116th, and its maths and science education as 128th out of 137 countries.
HSE said local pupils needed attention and extra resources when it came to mathematics, especially during Covid-19, which forced thousands of pupils to miss school due to the lockdown.
Shivad Singh, founder and chief executive of HSE, said they believed the program could provide world class maths education to our learners.
Singh, whose great grandfather was the first Indian South African to obtain a matric certificate in South Africa in 1925, according to a Daily News archive he shared, said he was very passionate about education.
“My great grandfather was the first Indian to pass matric in South Africa, he was a lecturer and a school principal.
“So I also want to see as many pupils as possible be able to pass matric, and it is really important to focus on primary school education, so that we lay the foundation for high school, and that is what this program does,” he said.
Singh, who grew up in La Lucia, said he had started his first educational venture during his first year as a BCom Accounting student at the University of Cape Town.
“When I studied at UCT, I was funded by Investec for the whole four years and I think that also showed me the importance of how education can change people’s lives,” he said.
Singh said they were targeting 500 schools at the start of the third term and were not in discussions with the Department of Basic Education.
He also said SplashLearn also recently secured $18m funding which allowed them to roll out the software to more territories around the world.
The SplashLearn digital maths education program aims to create engaging learning experiences to transform children into fearless pupils.
They said the pre-kindergarten to Grade 5 game-based learning program had an adaptive algorithm that offered each child a personalised learning experience that was fun.
The program also gives teachers access to a teacher dashboard, which provides real-time updates on each student’s progress.
The teacher dashboard would allow them to see that a pupil was having issues with a concept, and this would allow the teacher to address the issue with the pupil.
Arpit Jain, the chief executive of SplashLearn said there were massive challenges that had arisen due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the subsequent lockdown and historical challenges in the country with maths education.
“The key to effective education is making sure each pupil’s individual needs are met. Achieving this is proving difficult, given the present situation.
There has been tremendous learning loss due to the pandemic, especially among elementary school children,” said Jain.
“We believe this endeavour with Head Start Education in South Africa will further our vision of building equity, access, and quality education for all,” Arpit said.
The program allows teachers access to over 400 curriculum-aligned maths skills with over 6 500 games and activities which are aimed at helping pupils learn new maths concepts through engaging game-based learning modules.
SplashLearn said the program was being used by over 40 million children in over 150 countries and by over 750 000 teachers.
HSE said it had partnered with Superiate Marketing to roll out the free SplashLearn licenses to as many primary schools as possible from the start of the third term.
“Every child has the potential to be a genius.
“We want to unlock that potential in as many learners as possible in South Africa, and then the rest of Africa,” said Singh.
* For teachers and schools who want to access SplashLearn for free, simply visit: https://www.splashlearn.com/teachers/register and choose your country as South Africa while signing up.