Business / News
Sunday, 05 Feb 2017 19:24 EAT
Longhorn Publishers is targeting 10 million school going children and teachers with its newly launched mobile-based exams revision application in the next two years. The listed publisher has initiated plans to reach out to corporates, institutions of learning, County Governments and Non-Governmental organizations to help it sign up more learners from Kenya and East African countries where the firm has presence to the eLearning platform.
“There has been a growing appetite for digital content in schools both public and private. The trend is mostly attributed to the Government’s launch of the Digital Literacy Programme as well the need to integrate technology in teaching and learning and this has been further accelerated by extensive use of smart phones,’’ said Simon Ngigi, Group Managing Director of Longhorn Publishers Limited.
More than 180, 000 users in Kenyan Schools have already subscribed for digital content from the platform in the last four months alone, while 5,000 more from Tanzania benefiting from the curriculum-linked online education resource. “We want every child in school today to utilize the contents in our platform. Our aim is to register 10 million users by June 2018. We are also in a continuous platform improvement process to ensure content is relevant for the specific countries,” added Mr Ngigi.
A number of schools in Rwanda, Uganda, Malawi, Zambia and South Sudan are also accessing the curriculum-specific content. ‘’We want to make learning fun and enjoyable. Learners should be able to access learning materials as and when they need. Teachers and students as well as students among themselves should be able to collaborate within the platform while in school and at home.
“Parents should be able to monitor the performance of their children real time. On a click of a button, we want to ensure that the education stakeholders are able to retrieve relevant data through our platform for research purposes,” said Evans Rotich, Chief Digital Officer of Longhorn Publishers Limited.
Roll-out of the app is in line with the firm’s digitisation programme that had already cost the publisher Sh20 million by close of 2016, to shore up revenues from textbook publishing. In April 2016, Longhorn successfully raised Sh533 million through a Rights Issue, part of which it has invested to boost digital content offering.
The diversification of business is informed by Centum’s expansion strategy for Longhorn. The Group’s MD attributes Digital Publishing as a beneficiary of that initiative, disclosing the firm has managed to grow its digital turnover by over 1000 percent.
Longhorn’s digital offering compliments Government of Kenya’s Digital Literacy Programme. The Sh17 billion programme is set to deliver 1.2 million tablets and laptops in 23,000 public primary schools, with plans to expand to upper primary classes in the second phase set for the second half of this year.
The eLearning Platform is available for download from Google Play Store as well as Apple app Store. The online version of the application is live on the web portal; elearning.longhornpublishers.com.
Subscription to the platform has been segmented into basic (subscription per subject per month), classic (subscription for all subjects per term/year) and premium (subscription for all subjects for all classes per term/ year) and payment options integrated with local services such as Mpesa, Airtel Money, Visa and Master Card.
The writer is a contributing reporter for the Kenya Free Press