Thanks to the massive growth in mobile phone penetration in the country, these companies have built new models for students to learn through mobile phones, tablets, and apps with digital content, gamified learning, and even personalized learning driven by largely artificial intelligence.
EdTech, which merges innovation with teaching, has made education more accessible at quite a low cost and massive scale. Across the world, schools have adopted robotic teaching assistants, VR experiences, Artificial Intelligence, machine learning and virtual classrooms to just re-imagine the traditional classroom
Being home to a diverse range of companies, we are glad to be associated with a number of these companies that have had a huge impact on the Kenyan Education Sector.
Here are several EdTech companies that we think have been impactful in the educational sector.
M-Shule : M-Shule is an AI platform using SMS to continuously analyze each learner’s ability in order to generate personalized learning tracks and build their skills. It provides an integrated solution – easily accessible through SMS for parents and teachers, with a web app for school directors.\
Eneza Education : Eneza Education is a comprehensive virtual tutor providing universal access to affordable, quality, lifelong learning through mobile technology. The Mobile Learning Platform helps tackle Africa’s problems of illiteracy, school dropouts, high textbook costs and lack of quality feedback for learners.
It has evolved from access on any mobile phone through USSD and SMS, to multi-device- smartphone, tablet, or laptop. Learners access the platform via mobile web, desktop, Facebook Messenger, and Telegram and teachers and school administrators are empowered by being equipped with relevant content.
Since Eneza was started in 2011, the company has sponsored Edtech Meetups and reached at least over 380,000 active users each month.
Started off at one of the coworking space in Nairobi, eLimu is one of the most talked-about EdTech companies in Africa and the leading digital educational content provider in East Africa. The app offers KCPE Revision papers and Hadithi, a literacy app that makes learning fun and engaging for curious children both at school and at home.
The app also uses a proven pedagogy and the latest technology to develop interactive stories written by local teachers, illustrated by artists across East Africa and voiced by actors and celebrities. Each story includes games and activities to keep a child busy for the whole school year. Over the last five years, ElImu team has also developed teacher training courses to give students the confidence to use tech in schools and to show them how they can use that technology to make their life easier – by making lesson plans, mark sheets, and their own materials on tablets and laptops.
Though not Kenyan owned, Ubongo Kids content is widely consumed in Kenya. Ubongo Kids is a platform is an 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.
Most students in Kenya highly rely on textbooks for their studies, however even with the free Primary Educationhaving been introduced in 2003, about 70% of students still can’t afford the mandatory textbooks required for school. This is where the whole idea of starting Kytabu came from. Kytabu is a textbook subscription application that allows students to rent preinstalled textbooks on a low-cost android tablet or desktop application on a dongle.
The platform has digitized hundreds of textbooks required for primary and secondary schools, plus thousands of TED Talks recorded in 42 languages (English, Swahili and local dialects), learning games, a virtual classroom for in-class chats and some past tests and exams.
They can rent content like pages, chapters or books on an hourly, daily, weekly or monthly time frame and pay with mobile money.
Kytabu allows students to access any textbook in the country’s entire education curriculum library, rent the size of content they need, for a time they need it while still fitting the amount of money they have.
This is all made possible by a microSD that holds the 8GB of pre-installed textbook content, a GSM, data enable SIM card with mobile payment support that comes with it to access updates or additional content through an online data connection paid for by publishers. This translates to affordable content that is always up to date, always accessible and easy to purchase.
Mosabi (formerly investED) is a platform that tries to bring the worlds of ed-tech and fintech together in order to extend financial services to traders operating in the grey market. Founded in 2016, Mosabi uses mobile technology to offer what it calls an “MBA for the rising billions” via its business-focused e-learning tool.
Learners go through topics such as entrepreneurship, business skills and financial literacy through compelling, lightweight video lessons, with the platform also using gamified quizzing, surveys and chatbots to drive meaningful engagement. Mosabi’s infrastructure analyses user journeys in real-time, prompting them about content based on their targeted profile and preferences. The company’s main goal is to help informal sector entrepreneurs increase their income and link them to digital financial services through alternative credit scoring. For that, it has a fintech side.
Educartis partners with the leading universities and training centres in Kenya to provide students with the latest knowledge and skills online. Educaris, who is also a member of Nairobi Garage Community and sit at our Westlands Office space have over 180 Courses available online and has locally partnered with over 40 institutions.
With the uptake of STEM Careers still low especially among girls, FunKe Science, is trying to change that narrative from an early stage. FunKe Science offers a platform that seeks to promote interactive learning of science among school children, through fun activities, experiments and tutorials using simple and common household materials that they can identify with.
Arifu among other Ai/Chatbot based education tools helps provide users training programs via any mobile device for free. Whether learning about entrepreneurship, financial management, or nutrition, their expert-crafted content is designed to meet the unique needs of each individual user. Arifu has been able to onboard over 800,000 users, with most users being farmers looking to upskill their practices. How it works is, Arifu reaches out to partner companies like Syngenta and digitizes their farming content making it available on both feature and smartphones through dialling a USSD code. A farmer from any part of the country can then access this content for free and improve their yields.
With the ultimate goal of building a global platform for digital literacy, Endless Solution offers devices and an operating system that comes with a wide range of pre-installed apps that can be accessed offline or even in areas with low connectivity. To enable learning the platform comes with over 50,000 Wikipedia articles, video lessons, and apps across a range of topics ensuring that you have access to knowledge at your fingertips. Headquartered in San Francisco, Endless Solutions so far has a presence in 17 countries and in Kenya the company has its offices located at Nairobi Garage-Kilimani.
With emerging technologies such as AI, Machine Learning, Virtual Reality and even 5G taking shape now, the EdTech revolution has a bright future not only in Kenya but across Africa and globally. This gives Young entrepreneurs across Africa a great chance to contribute to the development of a revitalised educational sector.
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