Local mobile game makes math fun to learn

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eRank Play app


For For many South African learners, mathematics is a major stumbling block. A young entrepreneur based in the Western Cape – Thobeka Nkabinde – is changing that, one equation at a time, with the WhatsApp-based eRank Play app. His vision ? Making math fun to learn for all South African children.

The eRank Play app is built around everyday actions such as figuring out what currency a taxi driver owes when collecting fares or how to use math to place a car in a small parking spot, and can be played n anywhere, anytime.

The app, which already has 1,000 regular players and growing every day, seeks to eliminate learners’ fear of math – a problem Nkabinde says he had in boarding school, struggling with math and struggling to get help with the material.

“Besides the fact that many young South Africans do poorly in mathematics, there are also many whose parents cannot afford tutors to help develop their children’s understanding. I knew there had to be a better way to help people by making learning fun and affordable, so we thought an app easily accessible from a phone would be the way to go,” says student Nkabinde. and former administrative assistant at the University of the Western Cape.

“Our players are primarily 8th and 9th graders, but we are working to expand our content and make it appealing to older high school learners,” Nkabinde continues.

The eRank Play app has been named a finalist in the recently launched MTN Women in Digital Business challenge, and Nkabinde and her team have received R100,000 which they are using to raise the profile of the app. The money will be used to develop a digital marketing campaign and attract more users to the site, offering free access for a period and a premium subscription service for an upgraded version.

Nkabinde has turned the COVID pandemic into an opportunity. Worried about the possibility of losing her job, she started working on the eRank Play app as a way to be independent, so as not to leave her well-being and her future in the hands of others.

“Thobeka’s story reinforces the now well-established theory that entrepreneurs are inspired to solve the problems they have encountered. By reducing math to its most basic elements, the app makes learning fun, encourages youngsters to explore math and break through the barriers that have made it an often hated subject. I hope eRank Play becomes a game that inspires thousands of young people to consider careers in science, technology or engineering – skills that South Africa desperately needs,” says Angie Moloka, Senior Manager : Education & Community Programs Foundation at MTN.

The MTN Women in Digital Business Challenge is part of MTN Group’s commitment to developing ICT SMEs on the continent. It encourages entrepreneurship by providing R1 million annually to 10 SMME candidates for working capital requirements, business development, tangible assets, mentorship and technology/software advancement.

“Our ten 2022 finalists, and recipients of R100,000 each, are examples of what women can achieve in a competitive industry. We look forward to learning more about them as they are helping to change the operational face of business in South Africa,” concludes Moloka.

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