African Press Association

Tech pioneer Rabana is changing the face of education

Rekindle Learning Founder Rapelang Rabana

JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – AGED only 30 but already honoured by the World Economic Forum as a Young Global Leader for 2017, featuring on the cover of some of the world’s leading magazines and named one of the entrepreneurs of the world by the World Entrepreneurship Forum, Rapelang Rabana has the world at her feet.
The latest feather to the Botswana-born young woman’s cap is Rekindle Learning, which is set to redefine the concept of education for generations to come. It has been profiled as a ‘striking innovation’ in mobile learning for both academia and corporate training environments.
A computer scientist, entrepreneur who sits in boards of several financial and tech companies, and keynote speaker, she forecasted the concept to be at the centre of education in the next ten years and “enabling people to build knowledge from the palm of their hands.”
Formed in 2013 and having recently found traction in higher education as well as universities, Rekindle Learning is a fulfillment of Rabana’s long-term interest in learning and education.
Having spent several successful years in the telecommunications sector, the Gaborone-born multitalented Rabana has now turned her focus to learning and education.
“I have been a technology entrepreneur for the past 12 years,” said the graduate capped at the University of Cape Town in 2005 with a bachelor’s degree in Business Science with a specialty in Computer Science.
Two years later, she would co-created the voice over internet protocol (VoIP) mobile application called Yeigo.
Her concept is finding traction in higher and tertiary education.
“We apply smart learning methodologies like micro learning where we essentially repackage organizational content to small byte size learning chunks that one can undertake in their mobile phone on the go.
This is just in time learning to be able to assimilate knowledge around product sales compliance things. It’s all around personalized learnings small byte sized chunks to reinforce critical information that the organisation staff must know,” added Rabana.
Rekindle Learning is an education technology company founded on the belief that every person should be able to develop their knowledge and learn a far cry from traditional route learning methods.
“I have been able to achieve really promising outcomes where people had previously struggled to pass exams using traditional materials and books and power points now being able to use this interactive micro learning methodology to learn ,” she said with pride.
She recalled how at university, she started a platform, English Word Power, to address English proficiency gaps for high school students entering university.
“While many of them could speak English, they may not be able to write and comprehend the level required in tertiary education. This hinders their ability to complete their degree,” Rabana said.
“From what we saw around the ‘fees must fall movement’ there is lot of pressure to ensure that we can make higher education more inclusive. I believe reducing the language barrier is one of the steps in that direction,” Rabana added.
She questions how the current learning methods focus on inundating people with knowledge rather than addressing the needs of the fourth industrial revolution, as the digital transformation is also known.
“How do we develop people differently to survive the fourth industrial revolution while the current education module and human development are content-driven? We need to change our approach so that we develop people that can respond adequately to the external stimulus and challenges that are going to arise,” she said.
“I believe using a different methodology that develops people’s response ability will critical in empowering them to be able to continue to add value side by side with the increasing prevalence of machines and automation using skills that are uniquely human like.”
According to experts, education technology, based on computer and mobile internet devices, is crucial in overcoming inefficiencies, socio-economic barriers and weak infrastructure.
James Manyika, the director of the McKinsey Global Institute, said impoverished schools currently lacking sufficient textbooks could access the world’s best educational content on affordable tablets or e books.
Teachers, too, will benefit from more effective training.
“The technology-related productivity gains in education could reach $30 billion to almost $70 billion, enabling governments to achieve more with their education budgets and providing millions of students with the foundation for a better future,” Manyika added.
The promotion of literacy is among Rabana’s passions. She serves on the Advisory Board of Project Literacy, a campaign founded and convened by Pearson to address illiteracy globally.
– CAJ News