A WhatsApp Maths Hotline is Transforming Mathematics Education in KwaZulu-Natal

A WhatsApp Maths Hotline is Transforming Mathematics Education in KwaZulu-Natal

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A WhatsApp Maths Hotline established education non-profit OLICO Maths Education is making a significant impact on pupils in KwaZulu-Natal. The hotline provides a direct line to trained maths tutors for grades seven to 10, as well as access to thousands of maths worksheets, tutorial videos, and automated lesson pathways on key maths concepts.

Originally created as a means of staying connected with schoolchildren during the lockdown in 2020, the platform has proven to be highly effective in improving mathematics results. With the support of the Datatec Education and Technology Foundation, the hotline has reached over 15,700 South African children this year alone.

While the service is available nationally, OLICO has been working closely with district officials and rural schools in KwaZulu-Natal’s Amajuba District to optimize its use. For example, when Grade 9 pupils in partner schools started algebra, they were encouraged to participate in an ‘algebra challenge’ on WhatsApp, mirroring what their teachers were doing in class. If students got stuck, they could request assistance from a human tutor who would provide guidance to deepen their understanding.

Syanda Phakathi, a Grade 9 pupil at Bethamoya Senior Secondary School in Newcastle, attests to the immediate improvement in results for any student using the service. The hotline fills a crucial gap in educational support for low-income communities in South Africa.

OLICO co-founder and executive director, Andrew Barrett, emphasizes that the hotline is not a one-time solution but rather a consistent support system for students as they progress through their math curriculum and address any backlogs.

The WhatsApp Maths Hotline is not only transforming mathematics education but also serving as a model for other innovative educational solutions. With its success in KwaZulu-Natal, it is hoped that similar initiatives will be implemented in other regions to benefit students nationwide.

Source: The Witness