Kenyan e-learning startup Eneza Education has partnered with Safaricom to roll out Shupavu 291, a revision study tool that works through SMS and USSD.
Shupavu 291, which is now available in 400 schools across Kenya in conjunction with Safaricom, can be accessed from any mobile by dialing *291# or sending the word “START” to 20851.
It enables students to take quizzes, search subjects and topics to study, and access Wikipedia summaries without requiring any internet connection. With the service, teachers and parents can check reports on individual student performance and school performance via SMS.
The service also includes the “ASK-A-TEACHER” feature, whereby students ask questions remotely to a live teacher.
Toni Maraviglia, co-founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of Eneza, told Disrupt Africa the product had become very popular since its launch, with 575,000 unique hits on the network, 55,000 monthly active subscribers, one million lessons viewed, and 10 million questions answered.
“From this, we’ll be infiltrating over 50,000 retail Safaricom shops, allowing students all over the country to earn Shupavu certificates, proving their knowledge in formal schooling subjects from fourth grade to twelfth grade,” she said.
“Many other telecoms have tried to launch education products on a much more massive scale, but Safaricom and Eneza’s unique, co-branded product has the been the first to succeed and prove to the continent that partnerships with educational authorities, telecoms and startups can work.”
Maraviglia said the uptake of Shupavu 291 also demonstrated that, even if you don’t have the resources for a traditional school, you can earn a certificate for a high school diploma.
“What’s most important about educational products is that you have all stakeholders on board – educators, parents, students – and the partners in place to reach them,” she said.
“Essentially, Eneza aims to replicate what we’ve done, and are doing in Kenya, by franchising our model to local partners in all 54 countries across Africa.”