Tackling the digital divide in Africa has been an ever-present challenge, but for a growing number of start-ups it also presents a great opportunity. Leveraging technological tools in innovative ways to make education more accessible, fun, and engaging heralds a new age in edtech that could potentially make today’s start-ups tomorrow’s unicorns, as seen with the success of Go1, for example. So, here are a few of the edtech start-ups we’ve kept an eye on as they address the digital gap in education in their respective regions.
1. Ambani Africa, South Africa
This start-up describes itself as a ‘culture-centric and future facing’ edtech company, which combines augmented reality, animation, and gamification for language learning. Providing interactive resources for learners, educators, and organisations in a country that boasts 11 official languages may seem like a no-brainer, but Ambani is one of the few edtech providers who’ve delivered a seamless, user-oriented learning experience to enhance language learning. AR flashcards are also provided by the company, giving children a fun way to practice their mother-tongue.
Image credit: Ambani Africa
Preparing for exams can feel like an overwhelming and anxiety-ridden experience at any age, and balancing the need to work hard and work smart to maximize the preparation period is where Edukoya comes in. With over 20 000 free questions available in its ‘question bank’ and access to a network of online tutors, teachers and learners alike are provided with the latest resources to prepare for secondary school and university exams. With the benefit of free and instant feedback on its platform, users can avoid expensive tutorials and focus on improving their performance in real time.
Image cred: Edukoya
While smartphones have become more affordable over the years, a significant portion of the African population don’t own smartphones or have access to the Internet. M-Shule’s ‘SMS knowledge-building platform’ provides skill-building resources that can be accessed via any feature phones. Similar to an LMS, its ‘LEAD toolkit’ allows learners to engage with its interactive courses in a self-paced manner, while using data to evaluate performance and drive user retention, while providing new learning insights. With over 1.25 million messages sent to date and more than 20 000 households claimed to have been impacted by its platform, M-Shule has certainly reaped the value of combining old and new technology to deliver accessible and continuous learning.
Image cred: M-Shule
There are many things India has in common with Africa, one of which is a large and young population eager for an education yet often hindered by low Internet access or technological barriers. This challenge was of course exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, but for Dreamverse Learning Labs, this meant reaching out to communities at a grassroots level with the launch of its pilot program, Call-a-Kahaani. The program makes use of Interactive Voice Response (IVR) technology to engage the youth with life skills. With over 13 000 learners engaged and who’ve made over 59 000 calls to the story-based platform, Call-a-Kahaani has proven that IVR technology can be a scalable, data-driven medium for life skills learning.
In case you missed it, check out our Q&A interview with the founder of Dreamverse Learning Labs, on our blog.
Image cred: Dreamverse Learning Lab
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