ECONET Wireless Zimbabwe is targeting to register 70% of local university students on its digital education platform within 18 months, an executive said.
Speaking at the EcoSchool national launch in Harare yesterday, Econet Services chief executive officer Darlington Mandivenga said the product was not a solution for Zimbabwe only, but would have impact throughout the world.
“You know the thing is with the way Universities are structure they work with semesters while when they are on holiday they is not much activity. So the 18 months give us something like four semesters and we believe by then we should have registered 70% of the students,” Mandivenga said.
The launch of EcoSchool follows the inception of a pilot project at the University of Zimbabwe in February aimed at capacitating students in Zimbabwe by making books available at a cheaper price.
Mandivenga said the idea of EcoSchool went beyond simply making books available at a cheaper price for students, but was part of a strategy to help students and their lecturers gain access to materials and courses from across the globe.
He, however, said in future the group was looking at growing the product to service the international community, but currently was perfecting the model in Zimbabwe before it was distributed to other African nations.
“It’s not every single one of the products that we launch that has a primary objective to generate significant revenue. However, we are a business off course, but we make sure we are not offering the business at a loss. We are looking at the social impact and the transformational impact.
“If you look at EcoSchool, there is something that they say, ‘Catch Them Young’. These students that are using EcoSchool may not be giving us that much value today, but we know when they leave university and they start working, will stick to Econet,” He said.
“So we are investing, so right now the focus is not on the profit, but on business relationship. That 120 000 students tomorrow will be part of the middle class supporting the network.
We assure you that we are not offering the service at a loss.”
EcoSchool is being provided at a cost of $2 per month to access the services using one’s own device.
It costs $6 per month for 24 months for EcoSchool tablet and $135 for cash price.