Meet the Open Learning Champion: Martin Mathuli

Meet Martin. He’s 10 years old and has been coming to Hazyview Open Learning Academy (OLA) for one year. He attends Mpunzane Primary School, a rural school that sends its Grade 4 learners to the OLA for two hours every week.


Story time: Martin at the Open Learning Academy in Hazyview reading an interactive eBook, led by digital facilitator, Glenrose Mashele. 100 percent of our facilitators are trained in-house and recruited from the surrounding community and, of note, 75 percent of those facilitators are made up of women.

Before I carry on, here’s an OLA overview: The focus is on using digital devices to make learning fun (and addictive). Our team curates the apps, and creates a yearlong syllabus with the intention of achieving a dramatic improvement in English and math literacy.

Local schools can then choose to supplement their curriculums by sending their learners to the OLA for two hours every week, where each learner can learn on his or her own tablet device: this is two hours of concentrated learning.

Prior to starting at the OLA, Martin had never used a tablet or a desktop computer. When we asked him what he thought of learning on tablets, he said:

“It’s my favourite part [of every week]. I have improved my words, especially speaking English words. I like the word “flower”. My sums are better and I like to read stories on the computer. I tell my friends that I read on a computer and that they should too.  Sometimes they don’t believe me. Teaman is my favourite teacher – he has helped me to make my tests better at school.”


For this blog post Martin was interviewed by Open Learning Academy digital facilitator, Njabulo Mashele. Njabulo is a facilitator for the Open Learning Academy programme and also a founding member of the GWF Media Academy.