How these apps eased access to education in 2018

Tuesday January 1 2019

 

By Elizabeth Tungaraza

The quality of an educational app is a pivotal attribute in the ever progressing world of teaching and education, and it can add a great deal of value to the learner’s educational experience. As we embark on a new year, Success magazine has compiled a list of some of the best educational apps that had an impact in Tanzania’s education sector in 2018.

Soma App

First on our list is Soma App. Under its founder and chief executive Isaya Yunge, a 28-years-old Tanzanian, the app is a mobile phone software that has revolutionised how scholarships are offered in Africa. Since the beta (test) version was launched in February 2017, some 450 scholarships totaling more than $850,000 a year have been won by students in Nigeria, Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda. In almost two years of its existence, more than 2,000 students are currently using SomaApp daily.

Isaya and his team came up with the idea after seeing how many domestic and international scholarships go unclaimed each year because young people are simply unaware of them. The app enables students to enter their academic qualifications and the SomaApp search engine then matches them with scholarships they qualify for.

Isaya says the application is doing well and so far 18,500 people have downloaded the app and 950 students have gotten opportunities for fully funded scholarships through the Application. SomaApp is a product designed to help students reduce high cost of university education by accessing scholarships. The cost of college and university rise every year hence students and parents are forced to take out student loans to pay for tuition fees and other costs of living.

MyElimu app

Another education App is MyElimu app. The app shares educational tips through social media. Founded by Given Edward, MyElimu provides 15-second educational videos through platforms like Instagram and Twitter. The app also uploads 15-minute animated videos, explaining schoolwork, via video notes.

Under the app, secondary school students are able to discuss subjects that are taught in their classes and they do this through discussions which can be started by any student who is a member of myElimu.com. The website brings together students from all over Tanzania to discuss various subjects of both O and A levels plus other academic matters. And this is what earned Edward recognition by the Queen of England. When he started the forum it had 157 students registered from different schools but right now 42,000 students use the website every month.

It is for this reason that Edward decided to set up a discussion platform at MyElimu.com where students can connect with others from different schools in different places and learn. He believes, through MyElimu students will inspire each other and collaborate among themselves, which is a skill they need to improve. Apart from that, this platform makes it easier for them to understand school content.

MyElimu app allows students to fill in the details of their discussion topic and subject and post it. When other students visit, they will see the discussion and participate. A student can also just browse through the discussions to see what others have been discussing. On the homepage the discussions have been categorized by subject so it’s easier for students to find exactly the subject they want.

Tanzania Efficient Secondary Education Access application (TESEA)

This is the latest app to hit Tanzania’s academic field. Through this app students can have unlimited access to enjoy a comfortable means of studying anytime and anywhere. The app was founded by Abdul Mombokaleo. The app is an educational tool aimed at giving access to learning materials through smartphone, tablet or any other similar gadget. Both teachers and students can enjoy well-prepared academic contents. TESEA app offers a comprehensive collection of approved and certified studying materials that conform to the established national curriculum for secondary education.

Mombokaleo says “Inadequate teaching and learning materials, poor education infrastructure such as classrooms, library and laboratory facilities, as well as insufficient number of teachers are some of challenges that motivated the establishment of TESEA APP.”

Due to such shortcomings, he sees that there is an urgent need to take concrete measures to raise performance. “One of the areas of focus in this project is to ensure the availability of good, valid and reliable learning materials to both teachers and students,” the ICT expert says.

According to him, the app will help the student to access studying material including text, audio and video especially on science subjects. The app aims at complementing teachers’ work by enabling students to go an extra mile in learning what he/she was taught in class. Due to having a culture of not reading, students now have a reason to start adapting a reading habit that is interactive. This will result in better results. Offered materials capture Ordinary and Advanced level secondary education curriculum. At the moment, more than 3,000 students have downloaded the app

Mtabe

Mtabe is another relatively new app in the e-learning platform, having been piloted just a little over a month ago. However even with that, it has been able to break grounds and received global recognition. Just last month, Mtabe competed against other social innovations across Africa to emerge the winner of the European Youth Award’s Africa category.

Mtabe is a startup that uses artificial intelligence and SMS technology to deliver learning content to students who cannot afford textbooks and do not have internet access. The app is so simple that an average African student does not need to master a new technology or get a new device to start using it.

Mtabe’s goal is to help young people transform their lives through education, using technology to make learning easier, quicker and more efficient. Secondary school students aged 13-22 simply send their questions via the messaging area of their phone to Mtabe and receive the answer in a few seconds. The Mtabe team of educators, developers, entrepreneurs and experts covers all aspects of learning, providing instant, curriculum-aligned learning content to students via SMS, so that a young person in a place without light or internet can still learn.

Partnering with the Institute of Education, the project ensures that content is of top quality and designed for inclusion. Mtabe is driven by high social impact, as well as a sustainable business concept.

Mtabe was officially launched as an app and sms platform in February. It had a test-run till November when it was unveiled to students in Kilimanjaro region. At the moment, the app has over 700 users from Kilimanjaro. January 2019 the Mtabe will be available to students in all regions in Tanzania.

Shule Direct

Founded by Faraja Nyalandu, Shule Direct is an online platform that provides educational learning content for students and teachers in secondary schools

The platform features new and innovative resources and solutions to ensure students and teachers are prepared for the future. Through Shule direct, Faraja continues to offer a range of secondary school subjects including Physics, Mathematics, English, Biology, Chemistry and more on the web and on mobile.

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