SA start-up to boost maths marks with mobile platform

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Mark Shuttleworth
The technology was developed by Siyavula, a Mark Shuttleworth Foundation beneficiary, and models the way in which pupils learn. (Image Source:

A South African start-up, Brighter Futures Tuition, has developed a mobile platform that helps learners improve their maths marks by up to 14% within a matter of months.

This is against a backdrop of severe criticism of the performance of South Africa’s education system and a growing recognition of a link between basic mathematical skills and a country’s economic growth.

The technology was developed by Siyavula, a Mark Shuttleworth Foundation beneficiary, and models the way in which pupils learn. “Parents are concerned that poor maths results limit the career choices of their children and this is why tutoring support is a growing market. Their feedback is that the combination of mobile technology and tutoring is compelling, especially when they are seeing such significant improvements in just a few months,” Joanne Brink, CEO of Brighter Futures Tuition explains.

Brighter Futures Tuition offers extra maths tutoring starting at R50 an hour using interactive technology on mobile phones. It currently has six maths centres in Gauteng. There are opportunities for existing independent tutors and retiring high school maths teachers throughout Gauteng to join Brighter Futures as micro business-owners to help learners study at their own pace, while still getting the advantage of individual attention.

Joseph Makuwa is a Brighter Futures Tuition entrepreneur who is currently completing his third year in Engineering at Wits University. Joseph began tutoring mathematics last year and enjoyed seeing the difference he could make in the results of his students. “They think that science and maths are difficult, but it is just a mindset. Once you get the hang of it, you get the fun of it,” he says.

Makuwa continues, “Our technology makes the practicing fun, so learners don’t feel like they’re doing hard work. And it uses cell phones, which is not only something that learners always enjoy using, but also means that the learners have easy access to additional exercises at times that are convenient to them .”

“We are recruiting people with university level maths and science skills – who could be ex-teachers, current students or graduates – to help us roll out the programme further. While our system doesn’t address the systemic education issues in South Africa, we can help our learners to improve their marks and ultimately have brighter futures as a result,” concludes Brink.

Staff Writer