Econet Wireless Zimbabwe (EWZ), which last year expanded its Ruzivo Smart Learning service to secondary school curricula, says it is targeting improved O' Level pass rates this year, on the back of increased access to the technology-driven platform, now being accessed by close to a million learners.
Speaking about a month into the new school term in Zimbabwe, EWZ CEO, Mr Douglas Mboweni, expressed confidence that Ruzivo would make a positive impact on the results of students using it for their O' Level studies.
"I am confident Ruzivo has been improving the quality of education among its users and I believe it will contribute to improve grades because it is such a relevant learning resource for students, particularly in places where some schools or parents have struggled with text books, or where a big teacher-to-student ratio exists" said Mr Mboweni.
"I know its early days yet - considering we only added O' Level content last year. But knowing the relevance of Ruzivo's curriculum-based content, I am quite certain that for any student who took advantage of it, the impact will show in their grades", said the Econet CEO, adding that technology presented unlimited opportunities to deliver education to the mass market and to make huge strides in the areas of research and commerce in our country.
Ruzivo, which was launched in February 2016, is an innovative interactive digital learning platform from Econet Wireless, which offers locally developed educational content online, including interactive lessons, exercises and tests. Ruzivo allows pupils to conveniently access quality, affordable learning resources and content via the Internet using mobile phones, tablets, laptops and PCs (personal computers).
With the November 2017 O' level results expected anytime now, Econet's Chief Operating Officer, Mr Fayaz King, said the power of technology to accelerate learning and bridge the so-called digital divide, was yet to be fully tapped in Zimbabwe.
"The opportunities presented by technology to provide mass access through mobile data networks, to simplify things, and to offer the same and equal access to a child in Binga or Epworth as that offered to a child in Los Angeles or in London, is what Ruzivo is all about" he said.
Mr King said that Ruzivo would complement, and not compete, with the government's efforts to revitalise Zimbabwe's famed educational system - which had not been spared the economic and social challenges of the past decade - and accelerate its turnaround.
Ruzivo currently offers primary school subjects in Mathematics, English, Shona, Ndebele, Science, Home Economics, Social Studies and Religious and Moral Education.
The secondary schools package covers Mathematics, Geography, Integrated Science, English Language, English Literature, Shona Ndebele, History, Commerce, Agriculture, Accounts, Sociology and Religious Studies, with plans underway to add more subjects.
Ms Sabina Manduna, Head of Ruzivo at Econet, commended parents, guardians and teachers for their support in the uptake of Ruzivo.
"Over the past year, we have been greatly encouraged by the enthusiasm with which parents have taken to Ruzivo, and the increasing support they give their children, offering them their tablets, laptops and smart devices to access Ruzivo.
"We are also indebted to teachers and schools across the country, for embracing the digital platform as a bona fide and trusted source of curriculum-based educational content." said Ms Manduna.
Describing how the platform worked, she said once a learner gets started, Ruzivo will keep track of their progress in all exercises and tests, adding that Ruzivo can be used both in the classroom, for class lessons, and at home, for revision or home-based learning.
She said accessing content on the Ruzivo platform is currently FREE, with no subscriptions required. Ms Manduna said learners with Econet lines currently had the added advantage of accessing the Ruzivo landing page, and all subsequent content, at no data charge.
Mr Mboweni thanked the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education for its support, and commended both public and private schools for embracing Ruzivo.
"The support we have received from the Ministry (of Primary and Secondary Education), from Provincial Education Directors, District School Inspectors and from school heads, has been exceptional," said Mr Mboweni, adding that the close collaboration of the private sector with the public sector boded well for the future of education in Zimbabwe.