Botswana aspires to become a high-income earning knowledge-based digital economy by 2036. To embrace the fourth industrial revolution and create long-term innovative solutions during and post COVID-19, individuals and organisations alike are looking to technology to run their daily lives.
To bridge the digital divide within Botswana’s education system, two innovators – Thuso Othusitse and Joshua Oodira – have come up with a digital solution to address the challenges often attributed to poor academic performance. The duo has invented an e-learning platform dubbed Classmate Online.
Classmate Online Managing Director, Othusitse said;
“Classmate Online is an inclusive, social e-learning platform that was established in 2017 to promote collaborative learning in a centralised manner between students, educators and other stakeholders. This works by virtually providing educational content to boost the performance of students across Botswana,” he said.
Othusitse described the platform as a virtual classroom that breaks boundaries in the country’s education sector. He highlighted it reaches and connects students in urban, peri-urban and rural areas, bridging the digital divide.
“Over and above the long-term persistent and systematic challenges, Classmate was created to solve issues created by the recent outbreak of the Coronavirus that disrupted the education system and accelerated the need for e-learning infrastructure and services the platform provides,” he explained.
The duo has partnered with Botswana Telecommunications Corporation (BTC) to provide Classmate Online consumers with easier access to internet connectivity and subsidised data bundles. These promotions will be targeted specifically at education only, Othusitse stressed. He explained that the application provides content in all subject syllabuses, past examination papers, educational quizzes, e-library books and video tutorials.
Othusitse noted although it is too early to gauge the extent to which COVID-19 has impacted the education system, there are signs that suggest it could have a lasting impact on the learning trajectory. He said this is offset by the increased demand for innovation and the digitalisation of learning, hence the need for Classmate Online.