EdTech in Africa - 11 Industry Leaders
When it comes to global education, Africa is labeled as one of the areas of highest concern by the United Nations. Education technology startups in Africa have many challenges to overcome to increase access to quality education across the continent.
Of all regions, Africa has one of the highest rates of education exclusion (1). As governments struggle to provide support to their education sector, several initiatives fall short due to education often not seen as the most pressing problem.
The majority of edtech companies in Africa are government-funded or assisted by charities and NGOs.
The Current State of EdTech in Africa
Getting children into school is one of the biggest challenges that most education systems in African countries face. Despite United Nations mandates outlined in their Sustainable Development Goals, there has been little progress in reducing out-of-school numbers since the SDGs were formed. It is estimated that around 258.4 million children in Africa are out of school. This represents 1/6 of the global population (2).
Looking on a smaller scale, Africa’s primary school enrollment is on a positive trend. School enrollment for primary education increased 80% over the past decade. However, the increase in school enrollment doesn’t change the fact that most of Africas education and training programs suffer from a lack of infrastructure and low-quality learning environments.
In sub-Saharan Africa, it is estimated that only about 25% of pre-primary teachers are adequately trained, while only 50% of upper secondary school teachers received any form of training.
School retention is also a huge problem across the continent. The rate of gross enrollment in tertiary education in sub-Saharan Africa is the lowest in the world. Only 8% of the enrolled students make it up to college, and when looking at college completion, that number plummets further (3).
As reported by the United Nations, challenges revolve around inclusive growth and eradication of abject poverty and exclusion —something that EdTech startups and companies cannot completely provide solutions to.
However, African governments are trying to utilize and integrate technology to meet basic education needs.
With each challenge there is a new opportunity, and numerous technology companies innovating are tools and resources to expand the number of children with access to a high-quality education.
11 leading edtech startups in Africa
O’Genius Priority an educational platform based out of Rwanda that helps students learn the basics of science and perform laboratory experiments virtually, enabling students to gain practical knowledge in science.
HITCH is a cloud platform that provides educational videos that can take the strain out of teaching and learning. With their proprietary HITCH Video Hotspot, videos are uploaded and accessible to students without the need for an internet connection.
Eneza Education is a company that provides learning materials through both Web and SMS. All of their materials are curriculum-aligned in all primary and secondary subjects, accessible on any device.
AkooBooks Audio is a platform that converts African books into audiobooks that teachers can distribute and are accessible on mobile phones. They are the first publisher and digital distributor of African audiobooks in Ghana.
5. iCog Labs
Pursing the goal of incorporating technology into society and having ICT accessible to everyone, iCog Labs is a company that provides coding skills training to young people, regardless of their previous education. The company is based in Ethiopia and offers services to 15 cities.
Zibuna aims to improve teacher capacity and capability by connecting educators and other involved stakeholders. This online platform provides materials and resources for instructors like exam papers, lesson plans, and more.
7. Kyatabu Co
Kyatabu Co developed a platform where students can access streamlined educational courses. The courses follow Kenya’s education curriculum, presented in a condensed, shorter manner through text, audio, and video formats.
Zeraki created a mobile-first data management platform where teachers can use their suite of apps to ease the day-to-day challenges of classroom activities and classroom management.
Chalkboard Education is a low technology software where learning institutions can digitalize and distribute learning materials and keep track of their students’ progress without using the internet.
Siyavula Education is a learning platform that offers customized learning experiences targeted at math and science subjects.
M-Shule is one of the first African company that offers a personalized, mobile learning platform. Students can receive personalized educational content delivered through SMS with their service, which removes the need to have a high-tech device and constant internet connectivity.