12 Dec So, this is success and what we strive for
Meet Senobia, an English second language learner from Texas and someone who symbolizes success. Senobia recently completed the Cell-Ed English course, delivered by our partner, Texas – Community Action, Inc. of Central Texas. Senobia was recently featured by Cell-Ed as an adult learner who benefited from using her mobile phone to learn English. She had problems texting on her phone, but once her children showed her how, there was no stopping her. She enthusiastically completed the English course and improved her digital literacy skills.
At this time of the year, when we head into the holiday season and look forward to a new year, we generally spend time reflecting on our accomplishments, making plans to celebrate the holidays and making resolutions for the new year. While reading what Senobia has successfully done and how proud and empowered she must feel, I cannot but ask what value is this course to her and what will the new year bring for her. Will her improved English knowledge and digital literacy skills result in a better job? Will these newly acquired skills enable her to increase her interaction with her children and her community? Or, is it just nice to complete the course and go on with life as before?
Only time will tell.
These are critical questions that we at Cell-Ed constantly ask ourselves. Are we helping people with more than just improving their language skills? Do they use their essential skills to improve their work and social context? Are we making an impact on the lives of people, society and countries? Do we make a difference? Do we empower and build social agency amongst our learners?
It will be remiss of me to be bold to answer yes to all these questions.
At Cell-Ed, we do believe that we play a modest role in helping people to communicate and read a language that they will encounter in their daily lives. The importance of language and literacy/numeracy is generally seen as required skills and competencies to meet the responsibilities of adult life. It helps adults (young and old) to code and decode text. Perhaps more importantly, it builds the capacity of people to “comprehend, interpret, analyze, respond, and interact within the variety of complex situations in which adults encounter various kinds of information.” 
Equally, language is also seen as an essential component of what has been described as essential skills. Lane and Murray define this as the necessary skills that people need to thrive in the workplace and can communicate, work in teams, make good decisions when solving problems and adapt to the changing demands of their job. Some of the key skills they identify includes reading, writing, numeracy, communications, working with others, basic digital technology skills and being able to continuously learn.
Cell-Ed strives to provide some of these skills using all kinds of mobile phones as the platform for learning while ensuring the learning is contextual to the work, home and social environment. This helps improve the learner’s communication with family, friends and colleagues; make self-empowered decisions and better understand what is required of the job
Senobia has improved her competency in English, digital literacy and her abilities to engage, communicate and make decisions. We, at Cell-Ed wish Senobia the very best as she goes about her daily life putting her newly acquired skills to use.
 Lane, J. & Murray, S. 2016. Smarten Up – it’s time to build essential skills. Canada West Foundation, Calgary, Canada