Inclusive, quality language learning and teaching through digital innovation

The Learn English Audio Programme (LEAP)  supports teachers, parents and caregivers from remote and under-resourced schools in African countries to improve listening and speaking skills, the building blocks of foundational literacy, and, to access quality English learning resources.

The audio lessons produced under LEAP link directly to the South African Department of Basic Education (DBE) curriculum and national workbooks. LEAP has also been mapped to the national curricula of Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Zimbabwe.

Songs and bilingual storybooks (in English and 17 African languages) written and recorded by teachers and volunteers under the African Storybook Initiative and the British Council Story Making Project accompany these audio lessons.

LEAP is a versatile digital solution, and it has been delivered through a variety of modalities, devices and platforms since 2013, including solar-powered MP3 players, USBs and SD cards on teachers' laptops and mobile phones. 

During Covid-19 the audio content was migrated to a WhatsApp Chatbot platform, with animated versions airing on Openview, South Africa's first free-to-air satellite TV service platform, and YouTube.  You can sign up to check out the Whatsapp Chatbot platfrom here.


‘Allowing children to learn in their home language leads to good learning outcomes.  Learning English as a subject is important too as it is the language of business in South Africa, but it should not be a barrier to learning.’ 

Honourable Minister of Department of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga, South Africa


‘’It’s essential to embed educational solutions within national education systems. Otherwise, they will not be owned and sustained by governments, nor will they have a real chance of succeeding.’’

Ms Caroline Grant, Senior Adviser, English and Education, British Council Sub-Saharan Africa 


‘The most marginalised learners need to be at the centre of digital solutions – we must REIMAGINE education through access to quality content, affordable data, connectivity and devices.’  

Dr Andile Dube, Education Specialist, UNICEF South Africa


"The LEAP project has proven to be a scalable model and a systems solution to addressing literacy and numeracy challenges. I believe it is time for a multi-stakeholder approach such as this where the state and people, private sector and non-governmental organisations co-curate systems solution to address issues such as this as encouraged in the SDG17" – 

Sampson Kofi Adotey (Ghana), African Institute of Mathematical Sciences 


“LEAP has a great potential of transforming education as it has been a success in some countries. I look forward to how LEAP can be scaled in Nigeria not only in major cities but states like Oyo, Osun, Ogun, Ekiti and many more. It will definitely define basic learning.” 

Karimot Olabisi Odebode (Nigeria), Poet and Founder of the Black Girl’s Dream Initiative


LEAP was selected as a promising digital solution to showcase at the United Nations Educational Solutions Day on 17 September 2022, ahead of the United Nations Transforming Education Summit 2022. 


LEAP Learners singing a song
Whatsapp Chatbot QR Code
Whatsapp Chatbot QR Code


LEAP was co-created by the South African Department of Basic Education (DBE) and the British Council, with support from UNICEF, the South African Institute of Distance Education's African Storybook Initiative, and the UK's Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office. During Covid-19 the LEAP collaboration was extended to the Ministries of Education in Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Zimbabwe.