Consider Africa, and you see abundant natural resources, large working populations, and untapped markets—a land very rich in business potential. But if begin a business operations on the continent, you face a dismal obstacle, a population with the lack of education and training.
Now, however, that stumbling block seems to be shrinking. Online tutoring in Africa —the use of the internet is connecting geographically dispersed tutors and students—is emerging as an efficient way to bring maths, English and science sessions to Africa. One good model, the Improve Tuition Virtual School, is already up and running.
Launched in 2014, the Improve Tuition Virtual School allows students in 16 African countries to take maths, English and science courses taught by tutors from the UK and around the world. The tutors deliver their group sessions in front of videos cameras in their own classrooms, and video is routed via the internet to points in Africa including a some homes. Students are able to talk with the instructors in real time using the internet. A student in Kenya, say, they can ask a question to a tutor in New Jersey or London while students in Ghana, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe listen in using conference software.
Currently, the sessions are mainly tutored by European and American tutors, and they are beamed to learning centres and schools in Africa. In the future, Improve Tuition Schools hopes to broaden the tutoring reach. They hope to partner with African television stations, allowing anyone with a TV to join and develop further over the internet.
Improve Tuition online sessions are dedicated to filling the gaps in bringing world class tutoring at the affiliated schools, particularly in English and science at all levels. But there is increasing emphasis on learning English and that’s where the biggest uptake seems to be at the moment. Improve Tuition founder Gulam Dabhad, for example, delivered a session on nouns. Another session brought students up to date on verbs. Improve Tuition is looking to adding courses for adults.
Although Improve Tuition in Africa is still fairly new, its founder, Gulam Dabhad, is encouraged by the results. The number of children learning English has definitely grown since the new year.
One reason for the success, according to Dabhad, is setting up feedback loops which allows online tutors to monitor which topics students find difficult during a session. The online tutor then devotes more time to those topics in future classes. In addition, students are given regular homework which are reviewed by the tutors and used to assess progress. The continual feedback keeps students motivated and disciplined, allowing the Improve Tuition Africa to avoid the high dropout rates such programs face.
Improve Tuition Virtual Schools service is now available to companies that could use the existing infrastructure to train frontline and midlevel employees for expanding their English skills making business easier.
Economic changes will continue. Africa remains hungry for growth. The world has its eyes on Africa. For schools and companies who partner with Improve Tuition’s Virtual School may serve as a useful means of training African populations in English allowing them the future generations to trade with the rest of the world and hence increase African prosperity.
Gulam Dabhad is a Director at Improve Tuition and has an interest in Education in Africa. Africa has recently seen a huge demand in online English tutoring requirements in Africa from parents and companies in Africa who want to train their staff in the English language.