There’s no denying that 2020 has been a transformative year for education. With the growing interest in online learning, we also face COVID-19 and its effects on everyday life. According to UNESCO, 91.3% of the worldwide learning population has been affected by the pandemic as of April of 2020. Over 1.5 billion students are unable to return to their classrooms due to social distancing norms put into place by the World Health Organization. This has cumulated in an increased interest in EdTech startups, which continue to innovate and find ways to make education more accessible.
Given that Africa is a mecca of digital development and innovation in the 21st century, we can already spot very promising EdTech startups for 2020-2021. These startups and their innovative business ideas will ensure that the upcoming school year becomes that much more effective and creative for students in Africa. Let’s discuss what makes them different and how they can impact the shape of formal education as we know it.
Accessibility to high-speed internet and high-performance devices is an issue for many families, especially those with K-12 students, to look out for. Eneza Education is a Ghana-based EdTech startup which built a universal access point to quality life-long-learning (LLL) based around mobile technology.
In order to interface with their service, teachers and students need to use mobile phones and their SMS technology. Eneza Education and its mobile learning platform aim to revolutionize the way formal education functions by enabling long-distance learning through an affordable messaging system. The potential of this technology extends beyond sharing of literature – it can teach students about cyber ethics and how to work with digital resources.
Finding an engaging way to alleviate the literacy crisis is a worthwhile business idea, one which eLimu, based in Kenya, took on. This EdTech startup has focused its efforts on making sure that local languages present throughout Africa get their spotlight in formal education.
The startup created literacy apps with content focused on teaching students through contextualized learning. Students can get paper writing help and combine eLimu with editing tools such as Evernote and Grammarly to take full advantage of the apps’ features. Tradition is a crucial part of Africa, and this EdTech startup has put it front and center in their business ideology, making a noteworthy presence.
Social norms dictate that formal education is reserved for the youngest population – but why is that the case? Ubongo is an EdTech startup from Tanzania, which has made it its mission to provide educational content to a massive African audience.
Their goal is to make localized, family-friendly, and affordable educational content available throughout the continent, regardless of age or prior education. This approach to diversity in learning has made their growth possible despite naysayers who would reserve education for children’s formative years. Ubongo has currently brought their services to 17 million households, and they aim to expand in 2020-2021, given that COVID-19 has made formal education difficult.
Students of all calibers are likely to try their hand at academic education at some point. However, finding the right scholarship or financial aid can be tricky, especially in a developing environment such as Africa. Scholar X is an EdTech startup from Nigeria, which understands that it is difficult to find financial help for academic purposes.
They have designed their app around the idea of quick and easy access to available scholarships and crowdfunding for African students. Anyone who may want to browse the available scholarships can simply create an account on Scholar X and start looking for their academic opportunities. They have created an intuitive and user-friendly way for African students to find their path in life through education, making them a worthwhile EdTech startup.
Online learning, whether formal or informal, should be facilitated as much as possible regardless of age or prior experience. Student Hub is an online platform dedicated to African students who may not have the opportunity to attend formal schools. What makes Student Hub unique is their focus on life and hard skills, which can help students land internships or full-time jobs after studying.
The Cape Town startup does its best to publish a plethora of learning resources and encourage students to comment and discuss on the available content. Student Hub also allows employers to search through the student pool and find likely candidates to recruit or invest into. This makes Student Hub a highly competitive EdTech startup for 2020-2021, as more and more services and workflow shift to digital, long-distance technologies.
While not a new EdTech startup on the scene, Clock Education continues to make strides with their contributions to education in Africa. Clock Education started its mission with a very noble intention – make an educational app with African students in mind.
Over the years, Clock Education has developed technology which enables dynamic teaching and seamless access to learning materials throughout the continent. They have managed to partner with global institutions such as Microsoft and now feature third-party services such as Google Docs on the platform. Clock Education may require mid-tier quality smartphones or digital devices to function as intended, however, the payoffs are worth the entry barrier. Given the changes in learning in the wake of COVID-19, Clock Education remains at the forefront of EdTech startups to keep track of in 2020-2021.
Global networking is the new norm of the modern job market, and today’s students will soon have to communicate with their peers across the globe. The Johannesburg-based EdTech startup Obami knows this, and they have made it their goal to provide a global learning and collaboration platform to students worldwide. While their focus lies firmly on the African continent, Obami has made it possible for students to easily collaborate, learn, and chat about educational materials.
The platform frequently publishes new learning materials on a plethora of topics which are then available to students in a social media-like UI environment. This makes the learning process familiar and intuitive for students with prior experience with instant messaging and platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. Obami is a learning platform for everyone, and as such, it’s a contender for one of the most impactful EdTech startups in 2020-2021.
Lastly, while online learning is becoming a standard affair, many families still prefer real-world tutoring to internet-based studies. Tuteria is a Nigerian EdTech platform which decided to act as a facilitator between professional tutors and students in need of teaching.
Both students and tutors can use Tuteria to look for one another and pair up with the best candidates based on their requirements. It’s an intuitive and secure platform which enables both online and visitation-based tutoring depending on agreements between tutors and families. Tuteria is a safe space for both teachers in need of work and students in need of quality education. Given that large group gatherings in formal educational institutions are fading into the background, Tuteria is a startup worth paying attention to in the upcoming year.
This breakdown of African EdTech startups shows us one thing in particular – the industry is booming with the potential for innovative ideas and learning opportunities. Whether you find yourself in the position of a teacher or a student, give these platforms a thorough look.
See what they can do for you and how they can help make your educational experience more enjoyable and efficient in 2020-2021. While learning is an individual process we must go through personally, it can be made more creative and memorable through valuable online apps and resources. Don’t miss out on the chance to use these EdTech startups’ learning options – embrace the future in digital learning.
Bio: Dorian Martin is a writer, editor, and education advisor working with top dissertation writing services to provide academic assistance to students worldwide. He is a graduate of computer science and mass communication and aims to apply his knowledge to the articles and papers he is writing. Dorian has a keen interest in digital marketing and content writing, which he uses to publish articles on a personal blog in his spare time.
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