We have so many unsung heroes. They rarely get credit for their numerous contributions. In the list of the many unsung heroes, teachers take the number one spot. If you think about it, a teacher harnesses the development of our cognitive abilities. Yet they are hardly applauded for the work they do.
Lesotho is a country filled with selfless teachers who push boundaries and put in extra hours to equip students with the skills to make it in the real world. Under Selibeng’s Spotlight is 25-year-old Hlompho Mohapi – a teacher who aspires to use technology to help students to make the learning process easier.
We had a chance to quick Hlompho about his approach and the transcript of our interview is below.
For starters, what about Lesotho’s education system makes it hard for learners to grasp concepts?
Judging by the fact that we are in the 21st century, Lesotho’s biggest problem in education is the under-utilization of technology. In my opinion, children require visual learning techniques in order to be interested in anything.
The lack of these techniques make it difficult for students to grasp concepts. Whether we like it or not, blackboards and chalk have become obsolete.
Teachers are leaning on the cliché that computers could be a distraction for students but fail to realize that with proper monitoring, using computers to teach has more pros than cons. I therefore feel like the reason a lot of Basotho learners cannot grasp concepts is because technology is under-utilized in the education system.
How do you think technology can help students in the learning environment?
Encouraging the use of technology in schools will increase the desire for students to practice self-learning. For instance, many schools lack the equipment to illustrate the practicality of certain concepts in Chemistry or Biology.
Apps such as My Chemistry Lab, Chemistry Notes Offline and many more can help teachers with illustrations. Moreover, teaching these kids how to use their phones to help their learning will encourage the positive use of technology and eliminate the many complaints about technology being a distraction for learners.
These apps have great visuals, notes and even offer audio lessons. I believe that if teachers introduce these apps in the classroom, more students will grasp concepts.
Are there any other problems we are to face if technology is not introduced anytime soon?
I could list many problems such as failing to function in the modern world and limiting their potential in class. However, the biggest problem is failing to choose the right course in a tertiary institution.
The grueling steps which lead to choosing a course are extremely important. Writing the final exam is seen as scary but it can become better if students are introduced to technology as I have already outlined.
When students get their results, many are swept off their feet if they see ‘As’ in subjects they struggled with. Some decide to choose to study courses that might be too heavy for them. I know of people who got ‘As’ in Physical Science and decided to study B.Sc General in Tertiary only to fail badly at the end of the first year.
For others, they see ‘Ds’ on their final symbols and decide that they have no future. The point I am trying to make here is that technology does not stop at helping people pass their exams. It can help them know what to apply for after getting final results and the lack of knowledge of this makes students liable to making many mistakes.
What should students do to overcome the problem above?
I am very happy to inform Basotho that I have developed an App to help students choose the right course in institutions of Higher Learning. Aside from being a teacher, I happen to be a web developer who taught himself how to code.
I used this skill to create an App called Qualify. Qualify app is an answer to enhance education and help involved parties; students and their parents in removing the stress that comes with choosing the correct course.
This app helps students know of courses and institutions they qualify for so that they avoid making terrible mistakes when deciding on a course to choose. It helps students know which courses and institutions they qualify for.
Students just choose their subjects and the app does all the hard work and fast. The app currently has 11 institutions with a total of 138 courses with plans to add more.
What is the long-term goal of Qualify?
The long-term goal is to bridge High School and tertiary! With students having three steps to take before going to tertiary; namely, 1. Getting results, 2. Finding courses they qualify for, 3. Applying –
Qualify currently solves the 2nd step!
It takes a few seconds. The App has information on courses offered by Lesotho Institutions of Higher Learning. In addition, it indicates which grade you need to qualify for specific institution and courses.
Aside from Qualify, what are some of your technology inventions?
I have another app in production called Tablr. This is a timetable app that will help students to become organized to make their journey easier.
I also have a YouTube channel which aims at helping artists in showcasing their music. The channel currently has over 10k subscribers.
Probably my last achievement is a weird one! It is a blogger website where I and other people, Lehlohonolo Kantoro and Katleho Mohapi, post artists’ lyrics for the whole world to see. The reason for this is that we feel that Basotho artists need promotion and what better way to do this than take advantage of technology!
One last question, what is your advice to Basotho learners?
Use technology to your advantage and aspire to learn concepts in depth. The more you are exposed to technology, the easier it will be to survive. Develop your self-learning skills. This maybe hard at first because you will need to be disciplined but I believe that with consistency, you will be okay!
It is utterly inspiring to learn that there are teachers who desire to see kids grow beyond the classroom. A huge congratulations to Hlompho Mohapi for his incredible work in making education versatile using technology. We wish him the very best in his journey ahead!