Padziwe Digital Education Project
ZMCP are delighted to be able to act as the crowdfunding host for an exciting educational project being rolled out in Malawi. ZMCP will act to hold funds gathered by the crowdfunding initiative and disburse them to Padziwe for the purpose of building additional educational content, paying for server hosting fees and paying for teachers to be employed to work as in bound call and handlers from students seeking help and support.
In their press release Padziwe describe their initiative as follows:
AIMING FOR AN AFRICAN FIRST - PADZIWE, WITH UK SUPPORT, IS PUBLISHING ITS MALAWIAN SECONDARY EDUCATION LESSONS ONLINE FOR FREE TO COMBAT THE IMPACT OF COVID-19
In recognition of the ‘State of Disaster’ declared by the Malawi Government, Padziwe Systems Limited, a multi-award-winning Malawi digital start-up company, supported by UK based Challenges Group, is announcing the free online launch of all of its secondary educational content.
Pilirani Kumasewera CEO of Padziwe comments “Through 2020 we have been busy creating interactive digital lessons, featuring video, audio and animations for 11 of the Malawian curriculum subjects.” Pilirani added “Malawian students’ study for four years at secondary level, we have now fully completed the last two years, forms 3 & 4, of Secondary education. We recognise Covid has had a significant detrimental impact on the ability of all Malawian students to study and pass exams so from Monday 1st February 2021 we will start to make all of our content available on-line for any student to download and use free of charge. We believe it is time for all Malawians to stand up together in the fight against Covid – as a small start-up this is our contribution to that fight.”
This release of these lessons demonstrates a meaningful response to the call to action made by Malawian Minister of Education, Hon. Agnes NyaLonje at the Education Joint Sector Review (JSR) 2020. The review noted the theme of 2021 is ‘Education Reforms: A Means to Reverse Education Losses from Covid-19 and Build an Inclusive, Resilient and Quality Education System.’
Specifically, in the review the Minister notes –
‘My Ministry is aware that a main cross-cutting feature of any quality education system is high quality teaching and learning of science, technology and innovation; and an ability to take advantage of the new ICT-based teaching and learning technologies that are increasingly available to us. In this regard, my Ministry will be establishing two new directorates to support the development of these areas across the education system in Malawi. We are setting up the Directorate of Science, Technology and Innovation, and the Directorate on Open Distance and e-Learning (ODeL)’
On Monday 1st February at 07.30am every student in Malawi will be able to login to Padziwe’s online digital education content for free (https://padziwe.school). Starting with Maths, Padziwe will launch one subject every Monday for the next 11 weeks.
Padziwe has worked closely with teachers and Government agencies to create a standard of educational material that is appropriate and which follows the Malawi curriculum, giving students the ability to learn by themselves at a time when schools are closed. When schools re-open, the material will be a valuable additional resource for students and teachers to use, enabling them to catch up on missed studies and get themselves ready for exams.
Padziwe are also starting a crowdfunding campaign (https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/padziwe-1) to raise the funds required for server space costs and online learner support provided by teachers. Further funding is also needed to enable Padziwe create more digital content for Secondary Forms 1 and 2.
Pilirani Kumasewera commented “We are a small, innovative, Malawian digital start-up focusing on quality content creation, we are doing our patriotic duty by releasing the fruits of 12 months of hard effort by the company to help Malawi’s children achieve their educational goals. Donating to the crowdfunding initiative will secure the funding we need to run the company for a further 12 months, allowing us to complete the job and provide Malawi with the best learning content on a digital platform. We are asking everyone to help us help Malawi to become the first nation in Africa to have a fully digital secondary curriculum that is available to all students.”
Beyond funding, Padziwe are asking educational NGOs and businesses to team up and help support the rapid and widespread uptake of e-learning by providing tablets, devices and distribution infrastructure to support offline learning. Pilirani notes “Our aim is to leave no-one behind. We want to continue creating quality content and make it available for everyone. This includes content for Forms 1 & 2 as well as additional content for primary school.”
“2021 can be the year where Covid19 was the reason tens of thousands of Malawian children suffered a permanent education gap, or it can be the year that Malawi was the first country in Africa to have a quality online educational offering to support learning through all years and all subjects, all made in Malawi. Together we can leapfrog other nations, embrace digital and our domestic talent and show the world how we rose to the Covid challenge.”
Pilirani went on to add “We will be using our Facebook account (@Padziwe) and social media presence (@padziwe_mw) to publicise the link to the educational content, we urge all Malawians and education NGOs to pass on the link so that as many students as possible can benefit from these materials.”
How will Padziwe use any crowdfunding money?
We have used our start-up funding to produce the content which we will make freely available. We are seeking funds to support the ongoing cost of the large servers needed to making it freely available as well as the cost of teachers to provide online learner support to struggling students. Further funding will be used to complete the task of digitising all of the Secondary content.
What would you say to Educational NGOs?
We are in the business of helping all Malawian students gain access to quality education. We have a small part of that jigsaw and can provide quality content digitally. We would love to work with NGOs who share this vision, partnering and collaborating with them to use their skills, experiences and distribution capabilities to overcome the issues such as data charges and access to hardware which will slow the ability of all Malawian students to gain access to the education they deserve. We want everyone to step up and form a quality alliance that collectively achieves the goal of providing education to everyone.