Rwanda: New Platform to Help Boost e-Learning

The new Coronavirus global pandemic has led to countrywide shutdown of schools, leaving many teachers especially those in private schools to stay home without work.

Even with the adoption of online learning and teaching, a few teachers have been able to sustain their jobs, and it's not clear with the world will recede the pandemic despite optimism from some governments.

A new technology platform, Homeskul, could provide relief to struggling teachers. Teachers who are qualified and are on board on the new platform are able to earn from their knowledge and teach at their convenience.

A team of Rwandan developers backed by investors from the UK and US have developed an electronic learning platform that seeks to connect teachers and students.

Homeskul is an e-learning portal that connects experienced teachers to parents who are busy to homeschool their children.

According to Olivier Nshizirungu, a lead developer, the platform was developed to respond to the learning needs of students and teachers who have been left with nowhere to go.

"We came up with this idea because we saw the need from students who wanted to learn from the best teachers but they couldn't bring them home because of Covid-19 pandemic," he says.

The platform provides the right learning environment for students to improve their education. Everything is in one portal, students can interact with teachers through videos, access study materials, and chat directly with them.

Hiring process

Nshizirungu who's also the chief executive of Loxotech highlights that teachers who are registered on the platform have to go through the recruitment process through which their applications and CVs are assessed.

"We contact their referees to make sure that the kind of education they will provide will truly benefit the students," he notes

Olivier Nshizirungu, one of the developers of 'Homeskul'. Photo: Courtesy.

"In case we have teachers who are not providing what students are expecting, we give notice to them to improve and failure to do so leads to being removed," he adds.

Currently, most of the platforms on the market have limited features that do not support interactive learning and teaching.

Few have chat systems that allow students to chat directly with teachers, while many others don't have automated online quiz.

An example of such a platform is Moddle, which many schools around the country are currently using. Moddle is essentially an online learning platform that only enables students to access learning materials.

Teachers sign income share agreements, allowing them to get 60 per cent commission on the fee paid by a student through the platform.

Teachers on the platform teach everything from the national education programme to Cambridge international programme, and Centre National d'Enseignement à Distance (CNED).

Jabo Butera, a Rwandan living in the UK and one of the financial backers of the platform says investing in such platforms will enable Africans to access skills that were not able to be accessed before.

"Education is important but accessing the right information is hard. I left for the UK in pursuit for a good education. Technology is now allowing an opportunity for everyone to access the same level of education," he notes.

"Investing in such a platform enables Rwandans and Africans, in general, to access skills and knowledge at an affordable rate," he adds.

They say they are in the process of rolling out the platform in countries like Guinea Conakry, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and the UK where officials have already expressed interest.

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