Intel app set to disrupt SA education

2013-11-08 08:25
(Duncan Alfreds, News24)

(Duncan Alfreds, News24)

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Cape Town - Education is South Africa is set to be hit with disruptive technology that could see expansion of learning materials using digital platforms.

Intel announced on Thursday the launch of education applications intended to become a learning resource based on the South African school curriculum.

The Intel Explore and Learn Marketplace apps provide low-cost and free digital textbooks for learners.

"We're well aware of the challenges our education system faces. Through this solution, we're aiming to empower the youth, learners and students of South Africa to improve their knowledge and build skills, and in the process, change their lives," said Cigdem Ertem, Intel Turkey, Middle East and Africa business manager.

While there are lots of educational apps available on various smartphone digital store fronts, the Intel solution is to provide a single platform where both learners and teachers can access content, but also where developers are able to add to a resource hub.

Skills injection

Education in SA is in critical need of a skills injection and for the country to accelerate technological development and particularly, it is widely accepted that the system need to produce better graduates in subjects like mathematics and the sciences.

In 2009, 133 505 learners passed maths out of 290 407 who wrote, but that declined to 121 970 passes in 2012, according to the department of basic education's National Senior Certificate Examination School Subject Report 2012.

In terms of physical science, the numbers indicate some progress: Out of 220 882 who wrote in 2009, only 81 356 passed, and that increased to 109 918 passing out of 179 194 in 2012.

The top graduates in these subjects are produced in the Western Cape and Gauteng at around 70%, while the greatest need for improvement is in the Eastern Cape, scoring 38.1% and 50.4% for maths and physics respectively.

The Intel application is designed to assist teachers as well as learners, though Intel was careful to point out that technology could not solve systemic problems in education.

"We hope educators will find this app of as much use as the students, and use it reinforce their teaching. Technology itself will never be the solution; it is just a tool to help teachers empower our students," said Ertem.

The application is available from the website and the material is closely aligned to the national school curriculum and includes multimedia content.

Critically, for SA where data costs are a significant factor, the content, once downloaded, is available offline.

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Read more on:    intel  |  education  |  internet
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