How tech startup addresses learning challenges
By Caroline Theuri
Kiko Muuo was motivated to start Angaza Elimu, an educational platform, based on his own experience at school and the impact technology could have for children in rural and urban areas.
“Angaza Elimu is an education technology startup that offers personalised learning experiences for students and addresses the inefficiency in content for both teachers and students, be they in or out of classrooms,” says Muuo, who holds a bachelor’s degree in Engineering from Moi University.
Reports from various sources including the Ministry of Education acknowledge that the education system in Kenya faces challenges ranging from inadequate number of classrooms, low rates of enrollment, high costs of education and below-par performance.
An example is results of the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) released last year, which showed that students who failed to score well in their examinations may, perhaps, be unable to get the science-related jobs.
It is probably by recognizing that not everyone can access science-related employment, that the Kenyan national curriculum is often changed to reflect the evolving demands of the job market, according to the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD).
There have also been challenges that deal with policy. According to a report by education research organization Uwezo Kenya, titled, ‘Are Our Children Learning?’ the threat of strikes by teachers have in many instances disrupted learning for students in schools.
This tends to affect the quality of learning in Kenya, with poor content and quality being cited as adverse factors.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) has also pointed out that even though Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) are part of the curriculum in schools, male students are more likely to take them up as opposed to females.
Cognizant of the diverse challenges, Angaza Elimu has come in to ensure students access education that will enable them acquire skills that prepares them for employment.
“We have a Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) program that include the Arts, which equips children from as young as six years of age to those students that are in campus, with technological skills that their future employers would want them to have,” says Muuo, during the afternoon interview on the fifth floor of his iBiz office, an incubation centre based in Strathmore University.
“These include technological skills in data science and machine learning.”
According to Muuo, it is the ability to transfer these skills to students so that they can have training relevant to the 21st century job market that distinguishes Angaza Elimu from other technology education startups.
Students, he adds, can also use such technology skills to employ themselves if they wish.
Angaza Elimu was started in early 2007 to offer personalised learning for learners and since then, the platform has focused on a business-to-business (B2B) model to grow, using channels such as education conferences, as well as a sales driven team.
The startup currently has nine employees, besides Muuo and his business partner. The techie says his degree has been of help to the startup as it features technological aspects
Angaza Elimu platform has been able to reach 900 students in different regions across the country, such as the Coastal area, parts of Nairobi and the Eastern region. There are future plans to reach some five million students in the country, Muuo says.
“We have, however, faced difficulty in implementing our objectives in areas that lack internet connectivity. While there is an offline version, it has less interactivity. But we’re trying to solve this challenge.”
Over the years, Muuo says, he has learnt a lot in running the Angaza Elimu startup that mainly involves working with students, teachers and parents across all education levels. This is why the startup has gained significant milestones in the sector.
“It is a great achievement for Angaza to witness students improving their performance through our e-learning platform,” the techie says.
The serial social entrepreneur advises that aspiring entrepreneurs should undertake thorough research on what they want to do and focus on creating long lasting impact rather than confining their minds on making lots of money.
“If you have a passion, go for it and try it out. There is no harm in trying,” he concludes.