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Norway-based Opera Limited has partnered with Worldreader to expand access to ebooks for children and students in Africa via Opera Mini, one of the world’s leading browsers, during the coronavirus outbreak.
Starting this week, the international nonprofit organization will offer a new selection of ebooks to Opera Mini users as well as a brand new web app designed for children, the software company said in a press release.
The goal is to bridge the learning gap created by the disruptive COVID-19 pandemic that has led to the closure of schools, businesses, and lockdown of entire countries across the globe. As of March 24, 82 percent of the world’s learners have been shut out of traditional schooling and education programs due to social distancing, according to UNESCO.
Noting that school closures caused by the global health crisis can result in significant learning loss for students, the UN agency is supporting the implementation of large-scale distance learning programs and recommending open educational applications and platforms that schools and teachers can use to reach learners remotely.
“When considering how to mitigate learning loss in a pandemic, it should be a top priority to address supporting reading skills and engagement with books, bridging the gap until schools are in session again,” said Rebecca Chandler Leege, Worldreader’s Chief Impact Officer. “Through mobile technology, we are able to support the distribution of ebooks and attend the needs of millions thanks to the massive reach of theOpera Mini browser in Africa.”
The regular version of the Worldreader app provides ebooks for young adult readers, featuring hundreds of books for learning and pleasure, in categories including Learn, Health, and Career. Over 100,000 people already read from it each month, with new readers joining every day. The new BookSmart app from Worldreader, however, offers a wide variety of ebooks dedicated to children.
Both apps can be accessed from the Opera Mini browser, after tapping on the Worldreader speed dial icon. Once accessed, users will be able to access the new children’s version of the BookSmart app.
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