5 African Education startups you need to know about

The idea of online learning is definitely changing people’s way of accessing education worldwide, and Africa is certainly not the exception. The new generations are more open every day to knowledge from whatever perspective technology allows them to receive it, and if the possibility is online education, African countries are not staying behind in this trend that has been changing the world for the past years. Quality education has no limits now, with startups created to promote this innovative way of spreading knowledge and education throughout children and adults that are eager to learn. The idea of a future built with education, development, values, pride and hope, with key factors that strengthen countries’ economies can only be conceived with solid tools and sources that are able to supply essential learning and education elements for the children and the young people of today. The contribution the education and learning startups in Africa will generate in the near and not so near future is not only represented in income for companies or for the country, but it will also hopefully be reflected in society patterns and the respect for human rights. These startups and companies created throughout the past decade have a huge responsibility opportunity in the education of African countries and most of them already know it and are working hard to make sure they don’t let their countries down.

The following list describes 5 of the most promising and inspiring educational and e-learning startups in Africa that are creating an impact in today’s African digital learning environment. All of them have the same mission which is to give people the possibility to access quality education, without attending an educational institution. The possibilities digital learning platforms are giving people is something you cannot put a price to, because its value is so big, it could never be calculated. You are invited to take a deeper look into each one of them.

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Image courtesy of IICD on Flickr.com

DoviLearn

DoviLearn is a Nigerian online learning platform that has a simple mission: To make learning digital. It is one of the services offered by a startup called Dovichi Services which specializes in skill acquisitions for people who are interested in a career upgrade. The courses offered online by DoviLearn are human resources, digital marketing, project management, and android and IOS development, among other courses that will make any professional gain more knowledge to share with the people and companies they work with. Online certifications and professional training are also offered online and the best part of it is that courses are dictated by excellent trainers and instructors.

Prepeclass

This startup was initially born as an online learning platform but after some time of growing and adapting itself, it turned into a tutor marketplace that offers personal home tutors the possibility to meet customers with academic needs. The services of Prepeclass are focused on delivering quality and in order to prove it, they have a money-back guarantee policy that states that if a customer scores under 75% in the exam they asked to be tutored for, they will be refunded. Prepeclass is web and mobile friendly and that is one of the ways it makes it possible for people to take quick tests based on targeted examination practices. Prepeclass won the TechCabal Battlefield contest in 2014.

Rethink Education

Created and launched in 2012 in Cape Town, Rethink Education is an e-learning startup that allows educational content to be pushed and delivered through the mobile version to various instant messaging platforms and to the web platform mainly for school use. Rethink Education allows students the access to quality education while parents and teachers can monitor the student’s progress and adjust the lesson based on the progress the student is making day by day. The main goal for this startup is to operate not only in South Africa but also in Nigeria and Ghana.

Obami

Launched in 2009, Obami, a South African Startup specialized in education, provides web and mobile learning solutions to students, big and small companies, NGO’s and also teachers. Obami brings all of them together on a social learning platform, while allowing them to share educational content with each other. Obami is simple, scalable, and is it built in a secure, social framework. It is very intuitive so anyone can use it.

Qurio

Qurio is a perfect digital platform for those who have the need to create quizzes, surveys and tests online. Qurio is accessible both on web and mobile. It is easy to use and doesn’t need to be downloaded. It is a useful e-learning platform for companies that want to get feedback from their employees or measure their customers’ satisfaction, and also for teachers that want to evaluate a class or a lecture. With Qurio there is no need for paperwork and it can be used in real time.

NgREN Online Communities Aim to Foster Collaboration, Spur Development

ngren logo pic Founded in 2012, the Nigerian Research and Education Network (NgREN) aims to promote innovative research, collaboration, and communication among member universities and other institutions across Africa and worldwide. One part of this mission is achieved through the many practical services the organization offers, such as the creation and maintenance of digital network infrastructure and the provision of network applications like videoconferencing. Another part is fulfilled through NgREN’s facilitation of targeted, online community forums.

NgREN’s Communities of Practice are designed to bring together people with common expertise on a particular topic or theme in the hopes of advancing professional practices and spurring development in specific areas. By fostering links and active collaboration among institutions and other academic and professional groups worldwide, the communities can help participants to centralize and grow their knowledge base and visualize key matters within a broader context.

To launch this element of its mission, NgREN selected a number of strategic communities to serve as the initial group. These encompass areas such as food security, environmental degradation, renewable energy, and vocational training. Interested participants can join any Community of Practice by contacting the topic leader or NgREN directly.

VCE Presents Benefits of Cloud Computing to NgREN Data Center

Cloud Computing pic Recently, the Nigerian Research and Education Network (NgREN) hosted VCE, a joint venture of the leading tech firms EMC Corporation and Cisco Systems, for a presentation on Vblock Systems, its cloud storage technology portfolio. VCE visited NgREN’s network monitoring center to discuss data center development, proposing Vblock’s cloud architecture as a possible data organization solution. The company presented the cloud storage technology and its numerous benefits, citing the simplicity and efficiency of data virtualization. VCE also noted that Vblock integrates with popular computing and network technologies by Cisco, EMC, and VMware, offering a comprehensive suite of data management resources.

VCE drew on statistics compiled by the International Data Corporation to support its recommendation. The organization recently concluded that Vblock allows for significantly accelerated data center deployment times and can greatly reduce operational and incidental maintenance costs. In addition to decreasing overall costs by as much as half, Vblock innovation has been known to reduce data center downtime by 96 percent.

President Goodluck Gives Praise and Thanks to NgREN

ngren logo pic Established in February 2012, the Nigerian Research and Education Network (NgREN) has already made great strides in improving communication among schools and research institutions across Nigeria. Founded with funds from the World Bank and through the cooperation of the Committee of Vice-Chancellors of Nigerian Universities (CVC) and the National Universities Commission (NUC), the organization has strived to create a national network that can ensure access to broadband Internet connections, as well as a network monitoring center to keep the connections working smoothly. In recognition of these efforts, Nigerian president Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan hosted a September 2014 event at the Presidential Villa.

The president emphasized the degree to which work remains to be done, especially in expanding the network to reach institutions of higher education across Nigeria. However, in an address to the NUC Governing Board, he praised NgREN for its exceptional efforts, highlighting the program as an important part of his administration’s overall agenda. Currently, the network accommodates 27 universities, but in additional remarks, the vice president, Namadi Sambo, noted his support of President Jonathan’s wishes that the network be expanded further. Professor Julius Okojie, the NgREN board chairman and executive secretary for NUC, spoke for all in attendance in declaring the project an important part of bringing Nigeria’s educational system into the 21st century.

NgREN Provides Multimedia Training for Educators

ngren logo pic In a presentation titled “Creating Digital Multimedia Academic Content for Online Education through the NgREN Platform,” Howard University professor Folahan Ayorinde showed Nigerian educators the advantages of using digital tools to expand educational opportunities and create better learning environments. Organized by the Nigerian Research and Education Network (NgREN) in order to raise awareness of its platform’s capabilities, the presentation welcomed numerous participants from each of the NgREN clusters. Participants included vice-chancellors or deans and heads of departments, all of whom were interested in bringing these new technologies to their universities and teaching staff how to use them.

Professor Ayorinde’s presentation covered multiple topics within the realm of digital multimedia use in academic settings. NgREN, a high-speed network designed to link member campuses, enables the delivery of academic materials to Internet-ready devices, collaboration among teachers at distant institutions, and research-sharing across departments. The NgREN videoconferencing platform provides numerous opportunities for the academic community, including access to distance learning and digital multimedia content, which promises to expand the reach of educators across Nigeria. The session concluded with suggestions for future meetings as NgREN continues to expand throughout the country’s universities and schools.