Econet makes changes to e-learning platform Ruzivo; adds Shona, Ndebele & other subjects & content is free

Nigel Gambanga Avatar
Remote learning in Zimbabwe

Local mobile network operator Econet Wireless has announced that it is extending the content lineup for Ruzivo Digital Learning its e-learning platform.

Pupils using Ruzivo now have access to Shona, Ndebele, Home Economics, Religious and Moral Educations and Social Studies – 5 additional subjects meant to complement the existing lineup that only had Mathematics, English and Science.

Ruzivo Digital Learning was launched a little over a year ago as a subscription-based learning tool with content specifically for primary school Grades 4 to 7.

Since then it has undergone changes which include the expansion of its focus to cater for Grades 1 to 7.

From the information shared in Econet’s latest announcement, Ruzivo didn’t just add new content for all grades but it also dropped the prompt for the subscriptions, making its content free.

For users accessing Ruzivo using an Econet broadband connection, this makes the platform completely free since it’s been zero-rated (no data required) for Econet subscribers.

Is Ruzivo struggling to get users?

The latest changes aren’t surprising in an environment where Zimbabwe’s learning curriculum is undergoing so much change.

Access to all grades and adding new subjects, particularly two indigenous languages ties in with the mandate for universal education carried by the government through the Ministry of Education which is clearly a stakeholder in Ruzivo’s work.

However, the suspension/cancellation of the subscription fee does raise questions about how well the platform has been doing in terms of signups.

When it was launched, Ruzivo had a clear revenue motive with a $2/month price tag for both individual and per pupil per school sign ups. It also looked like its model was a mashup of everything online learning needed.

After all the time spent developing it Techzim even eyed it as the player to beat in the e-learning space – what with its zero-rated access that addressed Zimbabwe’s data woes, the curriculum specific content, a smooth payment option (via EcoCash of course) and the 2 buck charge which didn’t seem like much of a budget disruptor as far as education investment goes.

Plans to hack that away now suggests that perhaps users aren’t cosying up to it even though Econet has said “thousands” of users are signing up. If that’s the case, it would be a damper for Econet which needs all the Over the Top services revenues it can get as a telecoms operator.

It could also be food for thought for aspiring e-learning providers and startups – It takes more than zero-rated access to win over users and the business of education isn’t easy no matter how obvious the problem is and how powerful your brand is.

One response

  1. Dominic

    1. From Nigel’s Jan/2015 article ( “The platform will be accessible on any internet enabled device”

    — this drawback might be a reason for the low volumes of signups. It ignores the fact that data prices are high in Zimbabwe, and that Internet access (even on mobile) is very low for the 6-13 age-group that Ruzivo targets. Even when you assume that it is on a parent’s phone that a kid will access the content, what guarantee is there that parents know about this service and can afford to spare enough data for their kid’s access to interenet-based learning (remember, kids’ learning is a 7-days-week thing.) The takeaway is: how hard is it for Econet to put in the resources into creating content that can be downloaded periodically or once-off and then accessed offline? With all distractions (Facebook, etc) nowadays, offline also ensures kids channel all their attention toward their learning without escaping to update their FB timeline.

    2. Why not focus on only Grade 6 and 7. And with the freed up space, the remainder of the content can similarly be focused on Form 3 & 4. Just my thoughts, based on my own experience whereby I really needed learning materials and sources in the final two years of each level of education.

    3. Did Econet acquire RDL or this is still a partnership agreement? If no acquisition was made, does RDL pose a good enough value proposition for an acquisition so that all shots can be called from one center of gravity, i.e. Econet/EcoEducation?

2023 © Techzim All rights reserved. Hosted By Cloud Unboxed