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SA educator makes shortlist for ‘StartUp Company of the Year’

South African online safety and digital life skills program, MySociaLife, has been shortlisted as the 2021 ‘StartUp Company of the Year’ at the GESS Education Awards Dubai to be held on the 15th November.

The announcement is a huge accomplishment for a South African education company, given the high profile of the event, based in the Middle East, one that attracts the highest calibre of educators from around the world.

“To make it to the final nine is truly exciting, especially in a category like this where it encompasses and welcomes all the players in our industry. Some great names have lit up this particular award in previous years,” explains MySociaLife Founder, Dean McCoubrey.

“Where we are a little different to many school products and programs is that we don’t just educate teens and pre-teens, we also teach the teachers, and the learners’ parents, as well as educational psychologists too. We deliver a unique four-dimensional approach to the education of online safety, media literacy and digital life skills. In our area of expertise, mentoring on topics like social media, gaming, and popular culture online, we believe the problem needs to be shared in order to be solved. Many kids have been struggling with mental health, sextortion, cyberbullying and this has increased during the pandemic,” McCoubrey adds.

MySociaLife offers an 8-lesson EdTech video program that can be delivered anywhere in the world, allowing teachers to login, download a lesson plan, a teacher pack of extra resources, and over 50 videos and various assessments to test their student’s knowledge. The topics covered include critical thinking online, cyberbullying and empathy, privacy and device settings, cybersecurity, digital values, sexuality online, mental health, and screen time management.

The awards highlight and reward the quality and diversity of educational products, resources, services and people as well as the best educational establishments and the most dedicated members of the teaching profession. The GESS Education Awards aim to encourage the raising of educational services & product standards throughout the industry and aims to be recognised throughout the sector as the accolade of excellence.

“We were inundated with the highest quality entries for the awards this year,” explains the GESS Awards 2021 website.

The awards are broken down into two sections those for supplier and distributors and those for teachers, schools and educational professionals. StartUp Company of the Year 2021 is one of the most sought after prizes of the event. The winners will be announced on 15 November 2021 at 6pm in the Talks Arena within GESS Dubai, and takes place at Dubai World Trade Centre.

“It’s been a tough year for schools, their teachers and the students, but programs like ours were forced to reinvent ourselves from teaching in person to teaching online and that has created real access to geographic areas and students we probably wouldn’t have reached. It also means we can grow across borders. We are in discussions with distributors in a number of countries at the moment. Personally, I think the real champions this year are South Africa’s school teachers. I think very few of us have any idea just how tough it’s been for them. I have seen some heroic commitment, but it comes at a cost. Some are feeling pretty exhausted. MySociaLife is particularly grateful for how they have adapted to new technologies in this pandemic to deliver quality education where possible,” McCoubrey concludes.

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