Bespoke app for counselling San

22 September 2021 | Social Issues

In a bid to curb high school dropout rates at Donkerbos settlement in the Omaheke region, a Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) Computer Science Lecturer, Rosetha Kays, developed a prototype mobile platform for counselling primary school learners.
Kays’ research, “Developing Technology to Strengthen Resilience in San Children to Reduce School Dropouts”, explored current technologies being used to provide counselling services to San children facing social hardships.
“Online counselling on the web or mobile platforms already exist, however many of the services are generic, thus this study is context specific,” Kays said.
The mobile counselling platform was developed based on information gathered from stories of successful San youth who had previously dropped out of school and current issues identified by the primary school learners. “An evaluation of the effectiveness of the application was done after the learners were involved in the project. This was done using psychological tools and resources to weigh their level of resilience,” Kays said.
The assessment revealed a positive change in the learners’ understanding of others’ feelings, awareness of self, self-esteem, coping with stress, demonstrating empathy to others, and knowing who to consult when in need of assistance.
“I now know where to go for help when I have a problem,” one student shared while others explained that they try to resolve problems by talking about them openly.
She suggested a follow-up resilience evaluation test with the same learners, in particular, a longitudinal study. “Ideally, one would like to have data about their level of resilience and compare this with data about their resilience level while at high school and after having used the application.”
Kays concluded.