MACRA grants license to Mobischool Malawi to provide low-cost technology and quality learning content

The Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) led by Director General Daud Suleiman has granted a license to Mobischool Malawi to provide high quality learning content and materials to learners using low-cost technology across Malawi.

Founded by Daud Suleiman (MACRA Director General) Mobischool Malawi is an integrated, multimedia educational content aggregator platform, which will use a Smart APP, a specially developed smart phone application that will allow multimedia content to be delivered to learners and USSD App, which is a special USSD app that will allow any mobile phone to connect to the platform using basic GSM functionality, regardless of the sophistication of the phone.

Suleman with his team meets Minister Nyalonje

The school will also offer Call Center app, a voice based application that will allow delivery of audio based content to mobile phones for learners to consume content, regardless of the sophistication of the phone and radio station – a digital radio station based on content that has been uploaded on the Mobischool Malawi platform.

However, Mobischool Malawi Managing Director MaryAnne Gunda told Nyasa Times that the content and educational material will be available on demand and will further create links between teachers and learners as they interact on the courses and materials uploaded on the platform.

“Mobischool Malawi will use available and appropriate technology to open access to educational content and materials that are available on demand, through multiple channels to students, regardless of their geographical location or socio-economic status. As a platform, Mobischool makes use of readily available electronic delivery channels to give learners power of accessing educational content and educational materials on demand,” said Gunda.

She expressed optimism that the school will address endemic challenges of inadequate access to education and educational materials, which emanated from high enrollment numbers in primary schools, due to the free primary education policy adopted by the Malawi Government.

The introduction of free primary education created a high demand for primary education, which, in turn, negatively effected secondary school education in terms of intake and the quality of delivery of lessons.

Both primary schools and secondary schools in Malawi experience high teacher-learner ratios. As a result, this has forced a number of learners to miss lessons due to inadequate seating capacities.

Additionally, teachers are unable to keep track of the progress of all the learners in their classes, as a result, learners end up missing lessons, not attending at all and in extreme cases, dropping out of school.

Teachers are also unable to adequately manage their classes due to high numbers of learners.

This has led to teachers being unable to provide attention to slow learners or learners who have special needs.

These problems have also manifested in the tertiary education sector where scores of learners leave secondary school only to find no available spaces in public colleges and universities. They are therefore unable to pursue their further studies due to inadequate spaces and infrastructure challenges.

There has also been a clear reduction in the pass rate of the Malawi School Certificate of Examinations (MANEB) results. In 2019, the MANEB examinations have decreased by 12.87 percent from 2018 (MANEB, 2019).

Hence, Gunda says Mobischool Malawi platform aims at having a wide variety of learners using the set channels of delivery of lessons, as long as they have access to technology.

“The primary channel for delivery of lessons is the mobile phone, this is regardless of whether it is a smart phone or a low-end specification phone. Mobischool Malawi will be able to deliver quality lessons, content and learning materials to any learner using any phone,” she explained.

She added that apart from the highlighted services, Mobischool Malawi further plans to embark on a service geared at the corporate world – a service that will allow corporate institutions to enhance their capacity in providing staff developmental services to their employees.

Gunda disclosed that as a platform, Mobischool Malawi corporate will be able to upload any company’s products and services, work manuals and training manuals, among others, which their employees can access and use for staff developmental purposes.

“In addition, Mobischool corporate will have an additional component which will allow employees to undertake examinations at the end of their company courses or at the end of a chapter,” she said.

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