Cassava Edutech has launched the Akello E-library, an online platform offering hundreds of school curriculum books that are set to strengthen Zimbabwe's education sector by providing learners and teachers an easy access to a wide range of Zimbabwe School Examinations Council (ZIMSEC) prescribed textbooks.
"We are introducing the Akello E-Library platform to the market in order to offer convenience to learners and students who have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic," said Mr Eddie Chibi, the CEO of Cassava Smartech Zimbabwe.
Cassava is the holding company of Cassava Edutech.
"With schools having been shut for a while and with the understandable uncertainty over their opening due to health and safety concerns, we still want students to achieve good grades and to excel, regardless of the schools they attend or their financial circumstance. Through the Akello E-library, we believe we are offering them a great platform to access vital academic textbooks for their study preparations," Mr Chibi said.
He said Akello E-library was set to offer convenience and accessibility through strategic partnerships with local publishers using a subscription model for library books, which is up to 90 percent affordable compared to printed books.
The launch of the Akello E-library comes less than a month after the launch of the Akello digital classroom, which offers learners live online classes, as well as on-demand lesson videos after the live classes.
Akello Edutech chief operating officer Mr Tendai Mashingaidze, said the Akello E-library that houses books across various categories for all age groups – from ECD to A Level – had partnered with various local publishers to scale and achieve maximum convenience for learners and educators.
"Akello E-library has partnered with several publishers, including Consultus Publishing Services, Priority Projects Publishers, College Press, Palm Publishers, Zimbabwe Publishing House, Connexional Bookshop, Palm publishers, Edulight and Secondary Book Press, to offer a wide range of books, including ZIMSEC-approved curriculum education text books, Christian reading and many more," said Mr Mashingaidze
"We have also engaged international publishers to bring their content on board in order to offer a wide selection of e-text books," he said, adding that the platform had been endorsed by many publishers.
One of the publishing partners, Consultus Publishing Services, through its managing director, Mrs Mwazvita Patricia Madondo, said: "We are proud to be part of Cassava Edutech's initiative as it is our passion as publishers to create and provide access to teaching and learning materials that is curriculum based."
"Through Akello E-Library, we will now be more accessible to our teachers and learners. I urge other local publishers to bring content to the platform to ensure uninterrupted learning in Zimbabwe, particularly during this Covid-19 pandemic period," Mrs Madondo said.
Mr Mashingaidze said the Akello E-library will enable readers to access the whole library and search for books of their choices. They can also add to ‘My Library' for easy access, using the subscription package of their choice. Readers can also subscribe for an unlimited number of e-books from a period of a day, a week, to a month.
Priority Projects Publishing operations and human resource executive, Mr Samuel Chuma, whose organisation has partnered with Cassava Edutech, said the current global pandemic had brought about so many challenges for school children.
"But we still want them to learn and excel, and so we are having to look for alternative means and resources to enable our children to still be able to learn while remaining safe," said Mr Chuma.
"We are excited to partner with Cassava Edutech on the Akello E-Library initiative as we strongly believe that this service will usher in a new and safe mode of instruction to learners during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond," he said.