Unlocking Talent

Unlocking Talent is an initiative led by VSO Malawi to sustainably scale transformational learning to every child, in Malawi and beyond.

From pilot project to nationwide initiative

Following our successful oneclass pilot project at Biwi Primary School in Lilon- gwe in 2013, onebillion, VSO Malawi, the Malawian Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MoEST), along with the Royal Norwegian Embassy and the Scottish Government, launched Unlocking Talent (UT) with the goal of bringing quality education to every child in Malawi.

Children waiting for their first session in the oneclass at Kabwabwa Primary school, Lilongwe

Since then, Unlocking Talent has evolved dramatically. More international donors and other implementation partners joined the initiative.

Unlocking Talent partners

In 2016, the Ministry of Education made UT part of the formal primary educa- tion system. The goal is for each of the 5,300 primary schools in Malawi to have a oneclass, so the children can learn reading and numeracy through onecourse.

By the end of 2017, the initiative will already reach 50,000 Standard 1 and Standard 2 learners every week.

Read more about how VSO and their partners are implementing the Unlocking Talent initiative in Malawi →

Children learning in a solar-powered learning centre

Every Standard 1 & 2 child spends several sessions a week in their oneclass, a simple solar-powered learning centre.

A teacher handing out iPads to a new group of learners at Biwi school, Lilongwe

  • They are taken through onecourse, our software for reading & numeracy. Everything is in Chichewa, their mother-tongue.
  • Every oneclass is equipped with a set of locked-down iPads. Many children will use each iPad over its lifetime.
  • Children learn at their own pace, and are rewarded every step of the way. They are guided by a digital teacher, who shows ’how to’.
  • Teachers at the school manage each oneclass. They help, guide and praise each child as they learn. They use their own dedicated tablet to help them.
  • Childrens’ progress is monitored remotely over the internet.
  • oneclass can be totally powered by a low-cost renewable solar energy system.

Standard 1 learners at Airbase primary school busy learning Masamu (numeracy)

Children inside the oneclass at Lilongwe Demo school

A teacher registering a Standard 2 learner at Muzu Primary school, Lilongwe

Unlocking children’s talents
wherever they are

VSO Malawi is partnering with governments, implementation partners, and donors in other countries to bring Unlocking Talent to even more children.

In South Africa, the Department for Rural Development and iSchool Africa have implemented the Unlocking Talent approach in more than 30 schools - adapted to the local needs.

Unlocking Talent in South Africa uses our apps on iPads in regular classrooms, to supplement standard practice. The apps help children to transition from learning in Afrikaans to learning in English. They also allow learners to catch up on the basic skills they need to progress.

Find out more about Unlocking Talent in South Africa →

South African learners working on a counting activity in their classroom

In Uganda, a pilot oneclass has been built at Nabirama Primary School in the Jinja District by UK charity HYT, using environmentally friendly Interlocking Stabilised Soil Bricks (ISSB).

Unlocking Talent facilitates the exchange of ideas and best practice - the ISSB technique is now used to build oneclass learning centres in Malawi too.

Find out more about ISSB and Unlocking Talent in Uganda →

The brand new oneclass at Nabirama primary school, which is between two regular classrooms

These young Ugandans are learning maths in Lusoga, their local language