Championing e-learning in the wake of Covid-19

David Waweru, co-founder, MySchool. Destin Africa
David Waweru, co-founder, MySchool.

The Covid-19 pandemic has forced schools to shut across the globe as governments try to fight the virus. Many children are out of classroom. As a result, education has changed with distinctive rise of e-learning, whereby teaching is undertaken remotely and on digital platforms.

While this sudden shift away from the classroom is being driven by Covid-19 pandemic, two years ago, David Waweru, co-founder of MySchool wanted to make use of technology to bring schools closer to pupils and impact the world of education.

“I grew up in a rural setting where I used to trek more than 8 Kilometers to school every morning. With immense interest in the education sector, I wanted to use technology to change this experience and bring education closer to pupils,” says Waweru.

MySchool is a Zoom like solution that’s specifically designed for schools. It has the functionality to share screen, whiteboards for teachers to write notes, sections for assignments and exam settings with no limits on the number of classes or users on-boarded.

Popular research suggests that online learning has shown to increase retention of information and takes less time, meaning that the development of MySchool was timely.

With the solution, the techpreneur says that students will have more interactive hours with their teachers either at school or at home, increased safety and security as they’ll be learning from home; teachers will have common resources which they can share with students either real-time or on-demand by the students; and parents will be able to make some savings due to reduced cost of learning.

In addition, learning outcomes for the students will be realized faster since students are fascinated by access to and use of technology and advanced learning techniques.

The virtual school is hosted in secure servers which are based offshore in India. However, the startup has a technical team that manages the servers here in Kenya.

With its key target market being learning institutions at primary, secondary and tertiary levels, the platform is specific on its core mandates and does not collect data for use in marketing or for other commercial purposes.

“We also ensure that all the data is safe, site well protected and uptime extremely high,” explains the 42 year old entrepreneur.

With such learning platforms being a soft target for hackers, the firm has adopted a high level security protocols that are in compliance with international standards.

The product has been rolled out across schools in Nairobi and other parts of the country. The executive however foresees a low adoption rate due to the current financial constraints in the country related to COVID-19. “We are mitigating this with our subsidized pricing model,” he says adding that, “The initial approach was to have a one off license and charge an annual maintenance fee but we have realized most schools are low on budget as parents can’t afford to pay much due to the economic effect of Covid-19 pandemic. We therefore waived off the high initial license fee and we will be charging a marginal fee of between 5,000-10,000 per school per month. This will ensure we onboard as many schools as possible and cover a bigger part of the country’s school going population.”

The startup also runs a virtual conference room solution that targets a slice of the corporate market with groups or societies that aim to engage with their staff on interactive modes and for functions such as meetings, events, conferences and AGM among others.

The company started 2 years ago with a School Management System which has picked up well. “By then we were employees and were taking it as a side hustle. Last year, I left employment to concentrate on the business on a full time basis. We came together with a few friends and contributed some money to set up the company. We are now trying revitalize the company and market it aggressively in order to bring on board as many institutions as possible,” he ends.