Education is the hallmark of any thriving society. However, the Arabic schooling system has begun to focus less on relevant 21st-century skills and more on traditional curricula. For this reason and more, Middle Eastern schools are beginning to see their educational outcomes decline.
The education technology sector has recently intervened, providing Arab students with more opportunities for a well-rounded education. Edtech, as it is known, is quickly becoming a dominant force, with edtech startups popping up in locations across the Middle East.
In Egypt, for example, edtech has revolutionized education for students of all ages. From tutoring platforms to online learning tools, here are some of the most groundbreaking Egyptian education startups:
Previously called CairoSitters, Orcas has helped Egyptian parents find skilled tutors for their children since 2013. The startup serves users in Cairo, Gouna, and Alexandria, providing them with a platform through which they can connect with tutors specializing in subjects from the Egyptian school curriculum. Those who sign up as tutors with Orcas undergo a thorough vetting process, which includes background checks, review of their experience, and training.
Orcas has built a network of more than 1,000 tutors, as well as language instructors who can help children hone their skills in Arabic, English, French, and more. After each tutoring session, tutors update parents on their child’s progress so they can be sure that their child is meeting his or her learning objectives.
Tqweem is helping students in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait prepare more effectively for their exams and sharpen their skills at different subjects. The startup’s Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) break up entire curricula into smaller units that they use to facilitate learning at a slower pace. Tqweem then calls upon its authors to develop questions for each learning unit. These questions then go into the site’s practice examinations, which students can take as many times as they need to develop their understanding of school subjects.
After completing each exam, Tqweem provides students and their parents with reports detailing their strengths and weaknesses in each unit. They can then use this information to build their skills in the areas that give them the most difficulty.
Headquartered in Cairo, Entlaaq supports its users on their educational journey through a number of Arabic Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). These courses, which are available both free and paid, cater to professionals and entrepreneurs who are looking to grow in their abilities.
Entlaaq facilitates its courses via an assisted learning model, wherein learners interact with their instructors online. Users can access their courses at any time and on any device, making it even more convenient to learn on the go.
One of the most popular edtech startups in the Middle East, Nafham is a web-based learning tool that supplements K-12 curricula in Egypt, Syria, Algeria, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia. The startup has developed more than 20,000 educational videos that help students review their most difficult school subjects in less than 15 minutes. From grammar to coding, Nafham has videos on nearly any topic.
Nafham, meaning “let’s understand” in Arabic, also strives to develop students’ understanding of school subjects by allowing them to ask questions to others on the site. Teachers and even other students can respond to their questions and ensure that they receive the right answers. This facilitates a better exchange of information among all users and helps more students expand their knowledge.
Like Orcas, Tyro is an Egyptian startup focused on helping local students access the private tutoring that they need for academic success. The startup has revolutionized the country’s tutoring sector by making these services more accessible and more affordable to all students.
In selecting its tutors, Tyro only onboards teachers with advanced degrees. These individuals must complete an assessment to determine their qualifications, which ensures that they have the experience to be effective tutors. Parents can select from this pool of tutors by looking at each person’s certifications, user feedback, and availability. Before scheduling a tutoring session, they can chat online with their chosen instructor to ensure that they are the right fit for their child’s needs.
Tyro then facilitates tutoring sessions online via an interactive whiteboard program. This enables teachers and students to chat live and even write out notes in real time. As such, students can hone their skills on their own schedule and from any location.
Yo7ka Anna is making it easier for young children to develop a love of both reading and learning. An online bookstore, it sells a wide array of books in Arabic, French, and English. In addition, Yo7ka Anna frequently hosts storytelling workshops and other programs that give children a more interactive medium for learning. These activities are also designed for enrichment, providing a fun way for children to engage with their favorite stories. Not only does this encourage children to read, but it also helps to foster their creativity.