Opera and Worldreader expand access to free ebooks for children and students in Africa during the Covid-19 outbreak

March 26, 2020 at 4:30 AM EDT

OSLO, Norway, March 26, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Opera (NASDAQ: OPRA), one of the world’s leading browser providers, and international nonprofit organization, Worldreader, are expanding access to ebooks for children and students via the Opera Mini browser during the coronavirus outbreak.

Starting this week, Worldreader will offer a new selection of ebooks to Opera Mini users as well as a new web app designed for children. The regular version of the Worldreader app will keep providing free ebooks for young adults with hundreds of books for learning and pleasure, in categories including Learn, Health, and Career. The new app BookSmart from Worldreader, will offer a wide variety of ebooks dedicated for children. Both apps can be accessed from the Opera Mini browser, after tapping on the Worldreader speed dial icon.

“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 the Opera Mini browser across Africa.”

According to UNESCO, 82% of the world’s learners have been shut out of traditional schooling and education programs due to social distancing. With school closures causing significant learning loss, open online educational platforms are becoming more relevant for schools and teachers to reach learners remotely.

“We believe that millions of children and students can benefit from our extended partnership with Worldreader, and access educational online content while the pandemic lasts,” said Jørgen Arnesen, Head of Marketing and Distribution at Opera.

Arnesen also pointed out that there are several barriers in certain African communities to access online educational materials, especially when schools are shut down. “Throughout Africa, mobile data is very expensive, and the Opera Mini browser is massively popular due to its ability to reduce web page sizes and save up to 90% of their mobile data.”

Digital solutions are key to keeping students reading while schools are out of session. With the Worldreader app, children and students can maintain reading skills, learn new subjects, and enjoy the escape books provide during this pandemic.

Alejandro Viquez