O’Genius Priority Ltd recently signed a partnership with the Mastercard Foundation to support home-bound secondary school students during the COVID-19 pandemic. The new partnership, part of the Mastercard Foundation’s COVID-19 Recovery and Resilience Program, will enable students to access the O’Genius Panda online learning platform free of charge from August 2020 until December 2021. The platform, which includes a range of content to support STEM subject learning, will be available on the Rwanda Education Board’s e-learning portal.
The content will span eight major subjects, including: Biology, Chemistry, Geography, Physics, Mathematics, Economics, Entrepreneurship, and Computer Science. Students will also have access to a bank of over 50,000 practice questions for revision and assessment, and technical content on the platform will provide access to non-academic “life-skills” training opportunities. The platform will be zero-rated, meaning that their internet bundles will not be consumed by accessing the content—and O’Genius Priority Ltd will actively take steps to onboard students in remote/rural areas.
“In Rwanda, 85.4% of students in secondary schools are enrolled in STEM subjects. However, when the pandemic hit, no one took materials used in science labs home. As a result, O’Genius Panda has been able to assist thousands of students not only to perform such experiments but to also access relevant content to keep up their studies. A tremendous uptake was witnessed in the last few months and we believe under this partnership with the Mastercard Foundation and the Rwanda Education Board, many students will acquire lifelong skills needed in their pursuit of academic excellence as well as in the job market,” says Origene Igiraneza, the CEO of O’Genius Priority Ltd.
In addition, “virtual labs complement science teaching and learning resources by bringing the real-world experiment to ubiquitous, quick, safe, and affordable laboratory settings,” says Dr. Christine Niyizamwiyitira, Head of ICT in the Education Department at the Rwanda Education Board.
Schools in Rwanda have been closed since 15th March 2020 leaving more than 600,000 students aged between 12 and 18 years home bound. The situation has sparked fears that staying home will increase school dropout rates, teen pregnancies, and drug abuse among young people in Rwanda.
O’Genius Priority Ltd is a local IT firm that develops and distributes interactive science content through its online education platform, O’Genius Panda ( www.opanda.xyz ). The platform provides a holistic approach to teaching and learning STEM-related (Science. Technology. Engineering. and Mathematics) subjects by using virtual laboratory experiments, summary notes, video tutorials, online classes, quizzes, evaluation tests, interactive forums and chat rooms, and by connecting students and teachers.
O’Genius Panda is accessible to all secondary school students through computers and smart phones, enabling them to learn and practice anytime, anywhere without constraints. To date, the platform has 119 registered teachers and has been used by more than 9,000 students from over 155 schools. Since May 2020, learners have spent more than 24,240 hours on the platform.
“Enabling learning continuity for STEM students is extremely important amid this pandemic. It is critical to safeguarding the national investments we’ve made in prioritizing STEM education. In a few years, these young people will be at the forefront of helping us solve and address the kinds of public health, education, social equity, business, and economic crises that COVID-19 is creating around the world. Investing in them now is part of building our collective resilience,” says Rica Rwigamba, Country Head, Rwanda at the Mastercard Foundation.
SOURCE: Mastercard Foundation