Consider Africa, and you see abundant natural resources, large working populations, and untapped markets—and a land very rich in business potential. But if you begin a business operation on the continent, you face a dismal obstacle, a population with the lack of education and training.
However, that stumbling block seems to be shrinking. In the 21st century, African governments are realising the importance of education and private sector innovation in teaching can allow Africa to advance further.
Although a minority, what is emerging is private sector tutors are increasing using the internet to connect via webinar with geographically disperse students—bringing maths, English and science sessions to Africa. One good successful model is the Improve Tuition Virtual School which delivers low cost webinar tuition and aims to expand the benefits offering of a single session to tens of thousands of
Started in December 2014, Improve Tuition Virtual School plans to allow 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 video cameras in their classrooms, and video is routed via the internet to points in Africa within affiliated schools including some homes. Often one screen is shared amongst many but children are getting a quality westernised education by experienced tutors.
In smaller groups students are able to talk with class assistants within Africa real time using the internet and in larger groups, questions can be emailed which are addressed in subsequent sessions. 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 affiliated schools 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 said ” Last week we delivered a session on nouns. and a subsequent lesson brought students up to date with adjectives. Improve Tuition is looking to adding courses for adults and businesses who want to go back to school.”
Improve Tuition in Africa is is encouraged by the results and Gulam Dabhad said, “The number of children learning English is small as the service is new, but it has definitely grown since the new year.
“With African governments realising the importance of an educated workforce, awareness amongst the people is increasing and innovative ways are being adopted to overcome the resource and budget constraints.”
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 drop-out rates such programs face.
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.
About the Authour
Gulam Dabhad is a Director at Improve Tuition and regional Director for Education in Africa. He is a qualified teacher, educational expert, educational journalist. If you are a government school, a private learning organisation within Africa and want to help deliver this new innovative concept of online tuition in Africa then email us on [email protected]