The global tech revolution is greatly changing the way we work in every sector.
EdTech, which merges innovation with teaching, has made education more accessible and comprehensive across the world. Most recently we’ve seen that established schools have adopted robotic teaching assistants, VR experiences, Artificial Intelligence, machine learning and virtual classrooms.
Young entrepreneurs across Africa have taken brilliant steps in contributing to the development of a revitalised educational sector. Below is a list of 10 startups focused on reinventing education in Africa.
Brainshare – Uganda
An EdTech startup based in Uganda, founded by Charles Muhindo. The web & mobile app enables students to easily exchange notes, past papers, revision materials, course work or ask questions remotely. The app strategically places teachers, students and parents in one eco-system. Teachers can upload notes, offer assignments and moderate student discussions whereas students can easily access content anywhere anytime with or without the internet.
M-Shule – Kenya
Based in Nairobi, e-learning platform M-Shule was founded in 2016 by Claire Mongeau (CEO) and Julie Otieno (CTO). The platform makes use of artificial intelligence (AI) and SMS to deliver personalised, accessible education to primary school students across Africa. M-Shule has come up with innovative ways to bridge the digital divide between most learners across Africa and their counterparts in the developed nations. While typically e-learning would require an internet connection and at least a smartphone; if tablet, laptop, or desktop computer is not an option. Thus far, M-Shule has completed a trial run involving 400 students across some 15 local schools in Kenya.
Student Hub – South Africa
The Cape Town-based startup was founded in April of 2015 by Kabeya Hertzy. The e-commerce platform offers smart education technology to students, government, and educational institutions. The Student Hub publishes e-books with links to other resources, while students will also be able to react to content when they are confused or find it difficult. ERAOnline will allow them to send comments and messages to authors, publishers and peers, and every student will be connected with a subject expert to assist them when they get stuck.
Ubongo – Tanzania
Founded in 2013 by Nisha Ligon, Ubongo is localised and multi-platform educational media that reaches millions of families through accessible technologies. It is an interactive educational cartoon that teaches kids foundational maths, science and problem-solving skills, and inspires them to use those skills to change the world around them. Ubongo leverages accessible technologies of TV and basic mobile phones to deliver edu-cartoons, currently watched in over 1.2 million homes in East Africa each week. Kids can interact via SMS from basic mobiles, answering quiz questions, and getting feedback and encouragement from the cartoon characters.
Tuteria – Nigeria
Tuteria is a Nigerian platform for online/offline tutoring, co-founded in 2015 by systems engineers Godwin Benson and Abiola Oyeniyi. The app links qualified tutors to students in their area and within their budget. In 2017, the startup won the Royal Academy of Engineering Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation.
Obami – South Africa
Founded by Barbara Mallison, this Cape Town-based e-learning and communications platform creates an online community that brings together students, teachers, and other individuals in an educational space for a unified learning experience. Through Obami people can share and discuss educational lessons and resources regardless of where they are in the world, as long as they have internet access. The platform which uses the familiar Facebook-style as its user interface was named by Business Insider as one of the top 20 most inspiring companies in the world.
Eneza Education – Kenya
The Kenyan startup, co-founded by Toni Maraviglia, Kago Kagichiri and Chris Asegotwo, former members of Nairobi’s iHub community, aims to provide kids in rural Africa with a virtual tutor. Eneza Education creates educational content that kids in rural, low-income areas can access on low-end cell phones. Through its “virtual classroom,” students between the ages of 11 and 18 can study subjects including Maths, Science, and English, and take any of its 2,000 quizzes and more than 16,000 questions, with the option of a mini lesson if they score below 50%—all for the equivalent of 50 U.S. cents a month.
Beni American University – Nigeria
Gossy Ukanwoke is the President and Founder of Beni American University, an online institution which hopes to bring quality education to every African youth, adult or teenager willing to study for a post secondary diploma or degree. Gossy was still a student when he launched Students Circle, an educational Social Network that offers academic resources to students. Later on, the idea evolved into Beni American University, a private online institution and first of its kind in Nigeria. The young Entrepreneur sees BAU leading also the growth of online, hybrid and combined learning in Nigeria.
ZeduPad – Zambia
The ZEduPad is an educational tablet tailored to Zambia and designed by British tech entrepreneur Mark Bennett, who has worked in the country for 3 decades. The computer tablet, which teaches users basic numeracy and literacy skills, is aimed at primary school children. The tablets also includes educational information for Adults on health, farming, and financial literacy. Approved by the Zambian Ministry of Education, the ZEduPad is programmed in eight different languages native to Zambia and has over 12,000 preloaded classes and lesson plans for untrained teachers in rural areas.
Clock Education – Nigeria
Clock Education, which means to learn in Zulu, is the brainchild of Nigerian Entrepreneur, Kolawole Olajide.
It is a free mobile app that allows access to learning materials to educators anywhere, at any time. Clock Education can be downloaded to a user’s smartphone and students can access the e-learning portal via a keycode provided by the university they are registered at. Among several accolades, Clock Education in 2012 won the United Nations award for Best Technology Innovation in Education for meeting the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).