Xander – Putting Learning First.

A fun and engaging library of mobile apps in a variety of South African languages makes it possible for kids to learn in their mother tongue.

The need

Although South Africa is a linguistically diverse country, early learning resources don’t always reflect this reality.
Children learn best in their mother tongue, so it’s crucial that educational resources reflect the wide range of languages spoken in South Africa. But while the vast majority of children (up to 90%) don’t speak English at home, only 9% of educational apps are in other South African languages.

This means that children aren’t as engaged with the content as they could be, and aren’t learning to their full potential.

The innovation

Xander is a library of mobile apps that encourages fun and stimulating learning in the child’s mother tongue. It’s the largest African vernacular catalogue in both the Apple App Store and the Android Market place, and so is well positioned to reach the widest range of children.

Fun, interactive games designed to improve numeracy and literacy are made widely accessible through this simple technology.
South African languages currently available include Afrikaans, isiXhosa, Swahili, isiZulu and English, with plans to extend to seSotho, seTswana and xiTsonga.

Key insights

Home-language learning plays a key role in early childhood development and allows children to be better prepared for basic education.

The project recognises the importance of mother-tongue learning, and explores the most effective ways of making it happen. The challenge remains finding routes to scale that are affordable within the most marginalized communities.

The project team

Tribage App Studio is part of Ever Africa. Tribage focuses on education and translations into mother-tongue languages including Afrikaans, Xhosa, Swahili, English and Zulu.