Via Afrika’s answer to SA’s poor maths results

Cape Town – As South Africa gets to grips with its poor matric mathematics results, educational publisher Via Africa announced on Thursday the launch of a tablet-based learning solution that could help change this disappointing trend.

Via Afrika announced their partnership with Tabtor, a US tablet-based learning solution that redefined education through personalised learning. The companies will work together to replicate in South Africa the dramatic maths performance improvements achieved by Tabtor users in the US, India and Jamaica.

Christina Watson, CEO of Via Afrika said: “At Via Afrika we believe that every child can do maths. In that regard, this partnership with Tabtor, aims to provide further assistance to the work being done by government officials to improve maths learning in South Africa.

“We believe that embracing technology is an integral part of ensuring South African education remains on a steadfast path towards a better tomorrow.”

Now read: $15m prize ignites learning revolution

Via Afrika Tabtor Maths (Tabtor is short for Tablet Tutor), is an interactive personalised mathematics tablet-based platform that combines the best of elearning with the support of a tutor or teacher which allows learners to complete maths problems in a fun, engaging manner.

Integrating Tabtor into every classroom

Through Via Afrika, Tabtor will be available as an individualised tutoring programme for struggling learners. However, Via Afrika is already in discussions with schools across the country to integrate Via Afrika Tabtor Maths into their teaching programmes, thereby allowing hundreds of thousands of learners to benefit.

Tabtor has already been rolled out in the three Via Afrika Digital Education Centres - in rural Limpopo, Mpumalanga, and Free State - where the results have been astounding.

Via Afrika Tabtor Project Manager Heinrich Dirk explains that “unlike other apps, Via Afrika Tabtor doesn’t merely tell learners whether answers are right or wrong but rather, captures every step the learner takes to reach an answer.

“This includes how they calculated an answer and whether they’ve watched one of the instructional videos available in the app. It even captures how much time was spent thinking, in the process of calculating an answer, before the learner wrote something down.”

“Once the learner has completed a worksheet, it is then sent to be reviewed by an actual mathematics tutor employed by Via Afrika Tabtor, another of Via Afrika Tabtor’s key differentiators from other learning apps. The learning analytics technology allows tutors to review every element of the learners’ work flow. Tutors therefore analyse what led to errors, allowing them to see exactly what the learner was thinking at the time of learning and identify all problem areas.”

Within 24 hours of learners’ submitting their work, feedback is sent by the tutors who can respond with voice messages, notes and new assignments. This personalised instruction ensures that core mathematics concepts are not only covered but understood before learners move on to new material,” Dirk says.


50% improvement in learning speed

CEO of Tabtor, Raj Valli, said: “With Tabtor, we see a 50% improvement in learning speed and a 65% improvement in answer accuracy. We’ve also measured dramatic increases in the number of students who report that they like maths and reductions in the number of students who report that they’re math-phobic.

“We’re excited to work with Via Afrika to deploy technology and instructor resources to achieve similar results in South Africa.”

Via Afrika Tabtor Maths is available now at the iTunes App Store for iPads and at Google Play for Android tablets.

For more information about Via Afrika Tabtor Maths, please visit

* Fin24 is part of Media24, which has a 70% stake in Via Afrika.

Read more on: media24 matric results apps
Johan Nel 2015/01/08 04:41:47 PM
Brilliant. Someone is looking for a solution and not just criticizing. Viva Via Afrika
John Meyer 2015/01/08 04:58:52 PM
What about Khan Acadamy? I'm not saying Tabtor is not a good answer to the problem. But there is a subscription fee. Khan Acadamy is open and free and does the same give or take. Although some input from teachers and parents are always require to keep the kids motivated and dedicated to their lessons.
Zandisile Mazi Mawethu Sitoyi 2015/01/08 05:00:16 PM
I'm happy to say i played my part on this amazing project.
Tyler Banks 2015/01/08 05:10:17 PM
Start with the basics... its not rocket science, it's just Maths and Physical Science. The dumbo in charge could start with issuing each learner with the same textbook. Really, how difficult can it be?
Adam Brown 2015/01/09 07:57:51 AM
Great idea from Via Afrika, now the cell networks must come to the party and lower data costs.
Zandisile Mazi Mawethu Sitoyi 2015/01/09 09:58:40 AM
I offered advice on level of questions as a grade 4 teacher
Utopian Indigent 2015/01/09 10:48:52 AM
This is NOT the solution. Tablets are already implemented in Gauteng schools and it is a massive disasterous failure. To begin with, children prefer playing popular video games if they have tablets, and teachers can do nothing to stop that. Maybe in Secondary School scientifically developed (and I mean proper, clinically tested science) education programs can help but in Primary School it is about development of basic skills and habits, for which tablets are no use whatsoever. We should stop trying to make more profit from education, Via Afrika, and begin respecting the bio-chemical science of education methodology.
Utopian Indigent 2015/01/09 10:57:19 AM
Gauteng tablet disaster in schools: 88000 tablets bought by Department of Education. All fitted with software forcing login through contractor's website. This website has been down for 9 months without any end in sight, in other words tablets are unable to log in and do anything. The software is all in one language, therefore only English LOLT benefit. A third of the tablets (more than 20000) were stolen from schools before GDE implemented tracking systems, by thieves who had the IT security plans of the schools, in other words with inside help from officials at GDE. Some training was presented but the teachers had to take over the training events because the contractors do not even know how to log in, let alone know anything about tablets and education. On other words, more than R2 billion down the drain. The purpose of the project was to enrich certain connected individuals who got the various contracts without following proper tender procedure, not to benefit the kids. It is a callous, evil project of personal enrichment while children are starving for real education, basic facilities and even food and water. In the process the working GOL computer labs at schools were disabled by those very contractors. The people in power in Gauteng are EVIL GREEDY INCOMPETENT MONEY-GRABBERS! There is a special place in hell, and it is actually written so, reserved for those who disadvantage the needy children for the benefit of their own pockets. You will burn.
Hoosain Hamzah 2015/01/09 11:03:45 PM
all this technology is not gonna achieve anything.The root of the problem is the education system the current system is not working at all in South Africa Obe and now caps is a total failure the solution in my opinion is the bring back the old system that we had in the 70's and 80's which produced thinkers and quality academics corporal punishment should also be re introduced these kids are not scared of their teachers and hence have no respect for them no work done = no punishment