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Classroom is just a click away

Written by Noluthando Mkhize
Learners will now be able to access educational resources any time, anywhere, using their mobile phones, thanks to the Ukufunda Virtual School which gives learners access to study groups and teachers.

Ukufunda, which means to learn in isiZulu, is a computer-generated school application developed by Mxit Reach, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the Department of Basic Education (DBE).

The app gives access to the Curriculum Assessment Policy Statements (CAPS) content for educators and developing Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) through the Ukufunda Teacher Corner aApp.

The app also has a calendar and Annual National Assessment (ANA) tool.

The ANA is the evaluation of Grade 3, 6 and 9 learners on their levels of literacy and numeracy.

When it comes to feedback of the ANA results conventional assessments can be costly, time-consuming and can take several months for results to be returned.

The ANA tool for Grade 9 learners on Ukufunda provides instant feedback and builds a database for the DBE to assess levels of competency quickly and effectively.

The learner section of Ukufunda includes:

  • My Calendar – which notifies learners on tasks and events
  • My Educational Resources – with inks to textbooks and reference material
  • My Safety and Wellness – with links to counselling and emergency services
  • My Groups - virtual communities of practice

The next phase of the Virtual School App will include a section for My Homework, assisting learners to complete homework assignments and My Mentor, a year-long mentorship that matches learners with other working professionals or tertiary students.

The App offers opportunities to learn and work collaboratively, to form professional learning communities and providing educators an opportunity to continue their professional development even after school hours.

Deputy Minister of Basic Education Enver Surty highlighted the potential of the Ukufunda Virtual School App to help the department achieve its goals.

“We must recognise that we are now in the 21st century, a century of possibility. We cannot ignore the possibilities that are opened up to us through increased access to technology.

“We cannot escape the glaring inequality in our system and it is encouraging to see that through efforts such as this we can close that gap using technology,” he said. Mxit Reach is a public benefit organisation established to inspire and improve lives through the development of innovative and cost-effective mobile solutions.

To date Reach has helped over 2,5 million learners access educational apps on the Mxit platform.

Mxit is a mobile messaging and social network application that operates on more than 8 000 mobile phone handsets from low-end feature phones to high-end smart phones on tablets, laptops and desktop computers.