SA’s SkillUp Tutors launches online lesson space

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South African ed-tech startup SkillUp Tutors has launched an online lesson space that allows tutors to conduct lessons with students anywhere in the world.

The Cape Town-based SkillUp offers parents and students across South Africa access to thousands of highly skilled and vetted tutors based on grades, subject, location, and budget.

The startup – which was recently one of those picked for a legal incubation programme run by Webber Wentzel and in April secured a Series A funding round from Knife Capital – has now announced the launch of the SkillUp Online Lesson Space, which is already being used by tutors.

“It’s our first move in expanding SkillUp internationally and from the feedback we’ve been receiving we believe this service will help us pave the way for the future of education,” the startup’s founder and chief executive officer (CEO) Matthew Henshall told Disrupt Africa.

“We’re integrating the software in some interesting use cases, including APIs, schools, online courses and on-demand subscriptions, which we’ll be launching in the coming weeks.”

He said the SkillUp Online Lesson Space had been built with the goal of being as “easy to use as a pencil, an extension of the hand so that the tutor and student are connecting as effectively as if they were sitting next to each other”.

“It must be easy for a seven to 70-year-old to use whether they are learning any subject under the sun. The software has to be effective, it has to work, no installing, no problems, no wondering what to do next. The Lesson Space needs to be the pen and pencil,” said Henshall.

“This service opens up a world of online learning opportunities for us. For example, we know that teaching mathematics to a student less than 12 years old is most effective when done in 20-30 minute lessons. It would be impractical for a tutor to drive to a student’s house for a 20 minute lesson, but having an online lesson, that is as effective as a tutor next to you, means we can actually improve the effectiveness of education as a whole.”

Another example is content, with Henshall saying it is difficult for tutors to always have the correct content with them.

“Often you need something, but without a computer close by it makes it inaccessible for in-person lessons. More and more we see that students and tutors have a laptop within arm’s reach during lessons. Online lessons allow a tutor to make sure the most applicable content, no more than a click away. Lessons can be far more structured.”

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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