School in a Box broadens reach and impact in SA and beyond

While the COVID-19 pandemic had a negative impact on many small businesses, non-profit organizations and social enterprises across South Africa and the world, there are some business models that were able to take strategic advantage of the opportunities that lockdown and the rapid migration to online solutions have provided.   

One inspiring example of this is Cape Town-based education technology pioneers, School in a Box (SIB).

Started as a means to break down geographical barriers to quality education, School in a Box now provides tablet-based educational solutions at 245 sites across three countries in the SADC region, offering over 22,000 resources to users across the educational landscape.

With the ongoing challenges in the education sector, exacerbated by the covid-19 pandemic, which is likely to continue into the new academic year, the SIB model for virtual learning is well placed to give learners an early start to vital online educational support.    

SIB was founded in 2016 by educator Michael Darby, and today provides educational support to schools, teachers and students through an innovative tablet-based solution that allows learners to access CAPS-aligned learning content, thousands of books in all 11 official languages, past exam papers and a host of other educational resources in an accessible and engaging format.

The game changer that School in a Box brings is that learners and teachers can access all this interactive content on their tablets even when offline, through a bespoke tech solution that SIB have developed over the past five years. This includes a UPS system that allows for uninterrupted learning even where electricity is not consistent, which has been particularly impactful in supporting learning in rural locations where internet and electricity access is patchy or non-existent.

“SIB was created to bridge the gap between those who have access to quality resources and those that don’t. We believe that only once we have engaged the hearts and minds of the next generation and instilled a love of learning across our entire educational ecosystem, will we be able to alleviate poverty and equip tomorrow’s graduates to be productive and successful citizens,” explains Noma Moyo, Head of Operations at School in a Box.

In 2020, School in a Box forged an alliance with Reaching a Generation, a faith-based organization with a mandate to support children across Africa to realise their full potential.

The partnership has seen SIB expand beyond SA’s borders and they now have projects running in Zimbabwe, Zambia and across South Africa.

The current focus is on moving towards a full school offering, incorporating CAPS-aligned content from Grade R to Grade 12 and including teacher lessons and resources as part of the package.

“The Department of Basic Education estimates that 80% of learning was lost in 2020 and that 50% would have been lost in 2021.  It is more critical than ever that we support educators to embed crucial learning foundations and cement the understanding of certain concepts. We will be launching Grade R to Grade 3 content at the end of this year and are partnering with SA’s top content providers to roll out this full school offering.

“This will see SIB transition from a resource that supplements learning outcomes to one that offers an entire solution for educators online and offline, and we are very excited for this next stage of the journey,” explains Noma.

Future plans include adding a coding curriculum, a lifeskills/whole person curriculum, as well as practical resources such as photography, social media management and teacher development.

To learn more, visit School in a Box – SA’s leading tablet-based education platform .

 

 

 

This article was published in partnership with Media Xpose.

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