PASSION FOR EDUCATION
Botswana’s education system has been experiencing a decline in school examination results.
In view of the depressing situation a youthful entrepreneur, Mooketsi Tekere, who is also passionate about education has taken the lead in using technology not only to teach children how to read and write, but also to improve their performance in class.
He talks to Voice Money about his mission.
Briefly explain what type of business Ngwana enterprises is involved in?
Ngwana Enterprises was initially established as a digital language laboratory, to teach people in interested in learning languages such as Mandarin, Chinese, French, Setswana.
But we have also included educational programmes which enable us to teach children how to read and write.
Furthermore, to master Maths and Science.
Our main focus was on marginalized and underprivileged children.
What brought about such a business idea?
A few years ago when I was a lecturer in one of the private tertiary institutions, I realized most students had difficulty in reading and writing sensible sentences.
This is one of the main reasons that made me push for a language lab.
But I got the inspiration of setting up a language lab when I was studying abroad.
That’s when I first got exposed to a language lab.
And that got me thinking that I must set up something like this when I got back home, hence the idea to have at least one lab in every community for Batswana to learn the various international business languages.
When did Ngwana enterprises start its operations and how many students are you able to accommodate in your lab?
Our lab which takes up to 30 students or people at a time became fully operational in 2010.
One thing I need to stress is that our language lab is not the traditional set up where one pops in a cassette and starts to repeat what they hear on the other end.
Rather through sound and visual effects learning is made easy and exciting.
Even for the Maths and Science lessons the use of sound and videos calculations are made easy for every child.
Making them suitable for every child, not only those one who are slow but pushes an A grade child to attain A* level.
The secret is practice. And it is through continuous practice that a child excels.
What type of computer programmes do you offer and are they internationally accredited?
Our programmes are free open source platforms developed in the United states of America and in South Africa.
One of the programmes is the KHAH academy and IXL which are already being used in schools in South Africa.
In fact the University of Cape Town has taken the KHAH programmes into the community. So these programmes have been tried and tested.
Since you are the sole distributor of this learning technology in the country what has been the response from the relevant authorities and market in general?
I’m not getting support from the relevant education ministry.
My intention was to have this learning solution in every school and community.
In essence, for the children to benefit I need access to schools.
To put it bluntly, I need government to pay for the service, because I’m not going to provide it for free.
All I’m pleading is for the Ministry of Education is for them to allow me to pilot this project for at least two years.
Within that period I would have trained their teachers and support with university students who are in need of experience.
Given the golden opportunity what should government and parents expect?
Improved pass rates s in English, Mathematics and Science. Children will be motivated to go into the classroom and syllabus will be simplified.
This technology actually changes the mode and mood of the classroom, because the child has background knowledge and is prepared for the teacher.
All the teacher does is drill pupils.
It also enriches young people, as the study period is more exciting and innovative.
What is the future of Ngwana enterprises?
To grow the company in terms of brand, visibility and trust among Batswana and to provide educational solutions to private and public schools in the country and beyond.
In order to achieve this, Ngwana Enterprises needs partnerships which will bring a return on investment.
There’s need for a value chain. People need to appreciate the service we’re providing.
I will be a happy man when Ngwana enterprises is able to take its services to every child, not only to kids whose parents are well off.