Finding an ideal school with the best education for your child used to be a grueling task. But not anymore, thanks to this new search engine
Every parent who cares about education only wants the best school for his or her child, and this includes quality of teaching being offered.
But identifying that perfect institution can be challenging, as you will need information on several schools, which may entail physically visiting some of the institutions to get assistance. It is costly and time-consuming, and that is where PataShule comes in.
Two techies, Sam Achola and Mathew Njuguna, have developed PataShule, a ground-breaking search engine, to help parents make informed decision about their children’s education. The two were driven by the need to help out their friend who at some point found it hard to get a school for his kid two years ago.
“When the kids reach school-going age, parents face important decision to make about what school they want their child to attend. They are always afraid of making bad choices, which could have drastic or permanent consequences. With PataShule, we are giving them the information they need to make the correct choice,” says Achola.
Patashule, which translates to Find a School in English, enables the modern parent to search, find, and apply for schools best suited for their children at their convenience.
The aim, according to Achola, is to get beyond the simple labels and look at individual schools. Parents can compare the institutions based on specific things the institutions are good at and those they are not.
“Travelling long distances, expensive commitments and uncertain decision are now a thing of the past. PataShule gives parents the ability to push learning institutions towards improvement.”
Schools that sign up on PataShule provide information about them including their fee structure, photos of their institution, school uniform, address, among other details they consider important to parents about their school. This ensures that parents are well equipped with necessary information.
All this come at a cost, however. PataShule offers different packages for learning institutions interested in signing up on the platform. The premium package for instance, gives institutions mores visibility. Schools can put up their advertorials, videos and even have an option have their school heads submit education editorials.
The platform also provides the premium package that allows the listing of basic information about schools such as name, location and address. Corporate or institutions with education related content are also allowed to advertise on the site a cost.
Upon signing up, the team at PataShule conducts due diligence to ensure that the information provided by the schools is accurate.
“We understand that in this digital era, it is possible for people to provide wrong information and that may discredit our platform. That is why we need to conduct the verification process,” says Njuguna.
So far there are over a 300 schools that have signed up, 140 students enrolled as well as over 300 applications made on PataShule with almost two thirds of them being private schools. This, according to the two techies, is supported by the country’s growing middle class and a growing number of expatriates who prefer private schools to public schools which are mostly underfunded and classrooms over crowded.
Traffic on the site, Njuguna says, is mostly on its peak towards the end of the year and the beginning of the second quarter of the year when people mostly switch schools.
In addition to listing schools, PataShule also offers an online library where students can access learning materials among other learning resources.
One of the key challenges has been convincing learning institutions to sign up on PataShule. Institutions view each other as competitors and find it hard to give out their information such as their fee structure for fears of their competition accessing it. As a result they tend to shy away from the platform.
“PataShule is still a new concept. Some schools are still struggling to understand how it works. With time we hope it will sink in,” says a confident Achola.
One of the most surprising things, according to the duo, has been how most parents understand little about schools their children are learning in. Most make their choices based on a school’s reputation and references from their friends which can sometimes be misleading.
“Schools present ideal pictures of their school on websites. However, the big question is how the information corresponds to the daily practice within the school,” says Njuguna.
Moving forward, the duo says their plan is to scale up the product and grow the number of schools listed. This will also involve growing the number of staff to support the growth. Figures from the County government of Nairobi indicate that there are over 1626 schools. Out of these 1288 primary schools while 338 are secondary schools.
“We believe that education should be accessible to everyone across the country. We want to give opportunity parents and their children to access it easily and conveniently,” says Njuguna.