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MTN, Siyavula partnership sees SA learners excelling in maths and science

Winners of the recent #1MillionMaths Challenge revealed, while other youth continue getting ahead of curricula, readying themselves for exams.

Lockdown or no lockdown, South African learners will do what it takes to ensure they are ready for their year-end exams. So says the MTN SA Foundation, which partnered with digital teaching and learning platform provider Siyavula earlier this year. Siyavula, which called on maths and science learners to join its annual #1MillionMaths Challenge – by answering more than one million questions during the full month of September – saw the target being reached in just 15 days.

“This achievement by grade 10, 11 and 12 learners was one of several highlights of the MTN SA Foundation’s partnership with Siyavula in 2020. It proved that children preparing for exams would not let a year of school closures, and other restrictions brought about by COVID-19, stop them from learning,” says Kusile Mtunzi-Hairwadzi, General Manager: MTN SA Foundation.

Indications of just what could be achieved through online learning came about in mid-2020. Fifty learners completed, and scored 100%, for the entire year’s maths and science curricula. They achieved this by using the Siyavula platform during the first three months of lockdown.

“It has been so encouraging and heart-warming to see SA’s young people flocking to the Siyavula e-learning platform. Their determination to do what it takes to get ahead has led to a year full of records for Siyavula. Since January, the platform has had 897 520 unique users and 23.7 million pages of information have been downloaded. The target of having 100 000 new learners register during 2020 has also been eclipsed by 18 000. All these statistics reflect positively on the class of 2020. They have taken action to make sure that, regardless of any obstacles put in their paths, they will be ready for their exams,” says Mtunzi-Hairwadzi.

“For MTN, we are very pleased to have been able to play our part by zero-rating the Siyavula platform for MTN users. We believe that this contributed towards an increase in traffic to the site of 153% and marking more than 15 million mathematics and science questions for learners across the country.”

The #MillionMaths Challenge rewards students for their dedication to improving their maths and science skills. Learners needed to complete 10 questions on the Siyavula platform and earn a minimum of 250 ‘atoms’ (points) to be eligible to win.

Challengers who achieved this were entered into a daily draw, which culminated in the grand finale on 30 September 2020. This saw the top student, for each grade and subject, named as one of 2020’s #SiyavulaChampions. Each winner walks away with a brand new laptop – a great tool to help them complete, and further, their studies.

The #SiyavulaChampions for 2020 are:

  • Emma Ackhurst, Grade 8 Maths, Curro Krugersdorp School
  • Anele Dube, Grade 9 Maths, Kenilworth Secondary School
  • Phokuhle Mabuza, Grade 10 Maths, Curtis Nkondo ICT School
  • Gaolatlheope Mosetlo, Grade 11 Maths, Maitemogelo Comp Secondary School
  • Bokang Mafereka, Grade 12 Maths, Curtis Nkondo ICT School
  • Lesedi Gojela, Grade 10 Science, AB Phokompe Secondary School
  • Lwazi Mbheki, Grade 11 Science, Zimele High School
  • Gobusaone Christopher Kekganetse, Grade 12 Science, Pinagare High School

The school with the most leader-board atoms was Kenilworth Secondary School, which proudly walked away with the winner’s trophy.

“The remarkable results achieved during what many have found to be one of the toughest years in recent history, have been gratifying for both the MTN SA Foundation and Siyavula. When we were forming the partnership a year ago, we were not to know that the provision of digitised science and maths curricula, textbooks, practice software and exam preparation material would provide an avenue for learners to bypass the impact of a global pandemic.

“Our investment of R3 million has been repaid many times over. It has enabled thousands of learners to reach their academic potential. This may not have been possible for many due to a lack of access to textbooks and regular classes.

“We are proud to be working together with Siyavula. The MTN Foundation will continue to support education through our range of other programmes, which have seen multimedia centres, computers or tablets, and other essential technical tools, being contributed to disadvantaged schools across the country,” concludes Mtunzi-Hairwadzi.


Launched in 1994, the MTN Group is a leading emerging markets operator with a clear vision to lead the delivery of a bold new digital world to our 240 million customers in 21 countries in Africa and the Middle East. We are inspired by our belief that everyone deserves the benefits of a modern connected life. The MTN Group is listed on the JSE Securities Exchange in South Africa under the share code “MTN”. We are pursuing our BRIGHT strategy with a major focus on growth in data, fintech and digital businesses.

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