Nigerian startup Youngsoul produces e-learning software with the aim of addressing the “dearth” of competent ICT teachers in the country and furthering government policies promoting ICT education in schools.
In an interview with Disrupt Africa, Adeboye Oshinaga, co-founder of Youngsoul, said that with the introduction of ICT as a compulsory subject in schools in Nigeria, a gap has emerged between teachers’ skills and the new educational requirement, prompting the startup to create software which supports both teachers and students.
“There is a dearth of competent teachers in Nigeria, more so ICT teachers. With the new mandatory policy that makes computer studies a compulsory subject, most middle and low-tier schools will need help to be able to deliver the curriculum effectively. Our software serves is an intervention to the teaching and learning of ICT in Nigeria,” Oshinaga told Disrupt Africa.
“Our products give teachers tools to enable more personalized learning for students with the aim to improve each student’s academic performance,” he said.
Youngsoul’s most recent product, VirtualClass, is an interactive software built to teach ICT in schools. It contains animated videos, simulation exercises and teaching tools to enable Nigerian schools meet the requirements for the National ICT curriculum.
According to Oshinaga, in addition to teachers often demonstrating a lack of ICT skills, the approach to teaching ICT is also insufficient and reliant on the wrong teaching methods.
“The present way that most schools approach teaching ICT is to employ the same traditional tools that they use for other subjects: chalkboards and paper textbooks. These tools are not sufficient to teach some of the more advanced and practical topics of ICT such as programming, graphic design, spreadsheets and word processing,” he said.
Oshinaga believes technology is key to bridging the disconnect in quality of teaching between different schools in Nigeria, bringing students quality ICT teaching even where there is no – or unqualified – teaching staff.
“Technology helps solves the problem of access and quality in education. It can go where good teachers will refuse to go and give students the benefit of the same quality of education that the best schools enjoy,” he said.
The startup has garnered significant support from investors and customers. Oshinga revealed Youngsoul raised US$40,000 in funding – US$20,000 of which came from the 440.ng accelerator programme.
Youngsoul also predicts revenues in excess of US$42,000 for 2015 based on the current uptake of software by schools; with 14 schools having implemented the software to date, for which Youngsoul charges US$18 per student per year.
The startup plans to scale rapidly over the coming five years, to become the leading e-learning software provider for emerging markets.
“Our goal next year is to grow our customer base to about 100 schools and 15,000 students. In the next five years, we intend to be the primary e-learning provider for majority of schools in Nigeria and the emerging market leader in the e-learning space in Africa.”