EdTech & The Future of African Education
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Future Software Resources Ltd brought together a panel to discuss the future of EdTech in Nigeria. With them on the panel, Andela, Chatclass NG, SmartED, Pass NG, Etisalat Nigeria and CCHub were represented – rightly too as they are the biggest and most invested EdTech companies in Nigeria with their influence spreading through Sub-Saharan Africa.
Education in Nigeria has a serious problem with official statistics giving off figures of 10 Million Nigerian elementary students dropping out. Nigerian teachers are mostly underqualified and funding and investment hardly crosses the barriers from tertiary education where the benefits are seen readily to the secondary and the primary educational sectors. There is also a problem of the inability to compile the requisite data for investment and for government to make the right legislation.
Despite these problems, Nigerian education and EdTech companies keep trying to brave on; albeit stressfully. Pass.ng setup a portal to help Nigerian students prepare for examinations to institutions of higher learning but from the data they gathered, most of the people that initially made use of their platforms used the outdated Java and Symbian devices that had limits to how they could work. Eventually, they had to discontinue support for those devices. There have been complaints about the high prices of Internet access in Nigeria especially when the multimedia used in infographics and online classes are considered. Etisalat created a package that catered to students most especially for educational purposes.
Content for these platforms is also a serious problem. In the times there is content, it’s hardly quality. The quality content is expensive. The lack of proper funding to cater to all the stages makes this impossible. Internet companies and bigger companies getting funding might be in a bubble as to the exact rigors of creating proper content but the smaller newer companies that see the future of EdTech and are trying to getting into the market are facing serious problems. The lack of funding, the general poverty levels that don’t allow people to purchase the devices they will require will set back the industry.
Andela and CCHub are trying to change the investment story in Nigeria by collecting data and presenting the data to investors and the important stakeholders. CCHub particularly starts people on tests and tests them when they are done with the programs to track progress. There are also projects that help for parents and investors to see how well their programs work. SmartED is pushing for advocacy and proper branding so that the governments can jump in on the future of African education. Seeing as the government is inadequate in its ability to innovate and execute, there is a desperate need to interface with the government and its agencies.
The future of Nigerian and African education is mobile with people choosing to learn at their own times and pace. VR, AR and more new technologies will be available but first infrastructural problems need to be fixed. Electricity, the inflation in the economy has to be taken care of so the current bubble doesn’t negatively burst and leave Nigeria wondering what could have happened if more had been done.
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