SAFIPA provided the funding for the development of the Alpha version of the internet portal of the My YESA Passport. This was a significant step forward in transforming the concept of tracking learners from Grade 1 to Post Doc in terms of their involvement in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Innovation events, competitions and Olympiads.
The next building block has been put in place to address a significant factor in addressing the digital divide. Web access does not provide a wide footprint across the country and is still not available at an affordable rate to the vast majority of learners and citizens. The alternative is WAP access in the form of Mxit.
Rather than waiting for funding, private funds were been used to initiate the development of Lite version of the Passport with major features available and fully operational. The gamble has been done in partnership with Every 1 Mobile who have been intimately involved in the development of this version. There are plans to have a full version available on Mxit by the end of September which can be ported over to an internet environment as well (Web and WAP).
To access the current version please log into you Mxit Account and navigate to: Tradepost / Mxit Cares / Education / Bsmrt / YESA
Current users are able to access the site through Mxit including the 150 000 users associated with the Bsmrt Community. As a result of the promotion at SciFest and tapping into the Bsmrt community over 2 000 users registered for their first Visa Stamp in the first two weeks. Additional material in the form of Field and Lab Work is also available to allow the YESA community members to earn additional stamps. Individuals are lead through the process of conducting certain activities and then have to answer specific questions from the assignments in order to qualify for that particular stamp. New material will be sourced or developed and made available on a weekly basis to establish a vibrant YESA community.
The intention is to seek additional issuing authorities who will be provided with unique stamps for specific events. Not only will it provide a record of attendance but also enable learners to supply valuable feedback to whatever presentation, course or demonstration is being conducted.
The site was viewed over 15 000 times in the first week. The challenge is to make it attractive enough to entice users to register and to make it sticky enough to keep them as active users of the material being made available. Additional material is being sourced internationally to provide a wealth of information to the users who can access it literally from the back seat of a Taxi, 24/7 from virtually any place where there is cell phone coverage.
Watch this space.