February 18, 2022

Fast tracking low-cost, scalable EdTech solutions with Turn.io’s Chat for Impact Service

Over the past two years, Turn.io’s Chat for Impact platform has played an important role in supporting social impact organisations around the globe as they develop better and more robust education systems.

The ability of Chat to fast track the use of low-cost, scalable tech solutions is especially crucial following the announcement by UNICEF on the International Day of Education (23 January) that more than 635 million students remain affected by full or partial school closures as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“In March, we will mark two years of COVID-19 related disruptions to global education,” said Robert Jenkins, UNICEF Chief of Education in a statement. “Quite simply, we are looking at a nearly insurmountable scale of loss to children’s schooling.”

Among the data shared by UNICEF was that, in low- and middle-income countries, learning losses due to school closures have left up to 70 percent of 10-year-olds unable to read or understand a simple text – up from 53 percent pre-pandemic. In South Africa, schoolchildren are between 75 percent and a full school year behind where they should be, according to UNICEF.

As part of impacting this by progressing better education systems, WhatsApp, in partnership with Turn.io and Praekelt.org co-hosted the first Chat for Impact Education Webinar. The December 2021 virtual webinar was in support of UNESCO Global Education Coalition's objectives and drew participants from across the globe.

While there has been significant progress using Chat as a low-cost, scalable technology-solution for education, the Chat for Impact webinar included a robust discussion about how Chat-based solutions could support and improve education outcomes in the future.  The webinar showcased the Chat solutions already in use by Sesame Workshop (LATAM) and TeacherConnect (EMEA), among others.

The Sésamo Chatbot by Sesame Workshop uses WhatsApp to deliver tailored educational content to caregivers that is designed to address gaps in access to early education caused by the dual crises of displacement and COVID-19 in Latin America.

Developed for the South African Department of Basic Education in partnership with , TeacherConnect is a WhatsApp service that includes a comprehensive collection of valuable information and resources that allow for deep engagement and feedback opportunities for teachers via WhatsApp.

Turn.io’s ability to power remote learning solutions for low income communities during the current pandemic has enabled a number of other organisations working to improve education outcomes, including:  

Bridge International Academies which has created a WhatsApp-based interactive quiz platform to help deliver quality education solutions to children in underserved communities in Nigeria, Liberia, Uganda and Kenya.

Nal’ibali (isiXhosa for “here’s the story”) is using WhatsApp to advance its reading-for-enjoyment campaign.

The British Council has created a WhatsApp-based resource portal as a way of providing home education material to parents, guardians and caregivers during the current school closure and recovery period.

Digify Africa’s chat service is a personal WhatsApp learning coach that delivers essential digital skills leading to work opportunities for young people in Africa.

Prestasi Junior Indonesia is significantly scaling its Cha Ching Curriculum financial literacy programme through a WhatsApp bot that uses the Turn.io platform.

Khwela Womxn, an organisation that believes in the power of women to change communities by facilitating experiential learning through womxn’s circles, access to mentors, and leveraging technology. To date, Khwela Womxn has provided more than 200 women with bursaries, internships and a platform for upskilling. .

Craft Education, a social enterprise that promotes inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong learning for children with autism and social communication delays via mobile technology. It is working to give 3 million African children with autism or related disorders a better quality of life.

Worldreader is an international non-profit supporting vulnerable and underserved communities by providing digital reading solutions to improve literacy development, learning outcomes, and gender equality and has developed a Chat service to drive engagement.

“The January 2022 UNICEF report provides even more impetus for us to keep partnering with organisations working in education to find new and impactful ways of reaching learners most affected by the pandemic,” says Pippa Yeats, Co-Founder and Product Manager at Turn.io.

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