Late last year, a Kenyan start-up launched the MwalimuPlus app, an intelligent e-Tutor that provides personalised learning support to primary school children.
By mid-March, just before the first case of Covid-19 was announced in the country, at least 5,000 children had been enrolled on the app.
A few days later, President Uhuru Kenyatta announced lockdown measures to stem the spread of the virus, and enrollment shot up exponentially.
“We now have over 100,000 users who are actively using the app on a daily basis,” says Mohamud Ali, the CEO of MwalimuPlus. “We have new students joining daily.”
Twelve-year-old Anabel Adhiambo is one of the students signed up to use the app.
Anabel’s mother, Lavender Adhiambo, first heard about the app from a friend in January 2020.
“I got interested because the app was teaching pupils mathematics,” she says. “The app would be the ‘home tutor’ to help my daughter improve in maths.”
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The app acted as the ‘second’ teacher; an extra teacher to reinforce lessons already learnt in school.
When it was launched, MwalimuPlus was aimed at giving students from all parts of Kenya access to the full syllabus.
“MwalimuPlus would level the learning experience for all students,” says Ali. “It would not matter whether a student was studying (using the app) from Turkana or Nairobi.”
The lessons are standard and in tandem with the syllabus.
According to Ali, the app evaluates learners’ knowledge then proceeds to select suitable learning tasks for them. Parents can also easily track the scores of their children.
MwalimuPlus is available on Google store. It requires a parent to sign up to allow their child to use it for learning.
When it went live, MwalimuPlus charged Sh249 per month and Sh2,500 per year per student.
However, last month, owing to surge in students enrolling, the company reduced charges to Sh125 and Sh1,450 for the next six months. Pupils in grades 4 and 6 access the app for free.