The beauty of Africa and the innovation here is that everyone is always hungry to do it better.
74% of the students in an average Kenyan class do not have the required textbooks for that class. And with 15 million children in the Kenyan education system, this is a startling statistic. There are millions more children with a similar problem around Africa and the rest of the world and without access to learning material, the impact education itself is reduced by more than half for these children. But what if today’s technology could do more than just help children and their teachers access learning material. What if it made the content affordable, convenient, relevant and fun as well? Kytabu is trying to do just that.
Kytabu is a leasing application for textbooks that are preinstalled on a device that is affordable and accessible to middle and low income families. The application that works on tablets and computers, is designed to be simple, practical and interactive while providing a new channel to access learning material that comes as a requirement for children learning in a government curriculum environment. Using mobile money transactions built into the application, a student can access fractured content (a page, a chapter or a book) for various timeframes (an hour, day, week, month or school term) and pay a fraction of the price if they got the book from a book store.
The additional convenience and ease of purchase, the up to date content and the rich forms of content that include video, animation and audio create an extremely exciting and interactive form of learning for students and teachers in any setting. The Kytabu application comes in a tablet, a dongle or modem to be plugged into a computer, a webbox which is a keypad connected to a television set or a SIM-Set which is a SIM card and MicroSD that can be slotted into any of the devices above that the user may have as well.
The objective of Kytabu is to help students in the developing world to leapfrog the limitations infrastructure and cost have placed on the access and use of learning content in a developing world context.
"Designed to be simple and built to be interactive, the Kytabu application is perfect."
The -Textbooks- App is the core of Kytabu and will host the learning curriculum that the Kenyan and East Africa countries use in primary and secondary schools. We are building a digital curriculum repository for the region starting with Kenya that would have a library of all curriculum required content in partnership with the respective publishing houses in the region.
The -Audiobooks- App is an audio library of the text heavy literature content as well as selected subjects that also add value to the student in various ways. This include the opportunity to improve annunciation, the ability to listen when they are not in a position to read and the opportunity to learn as a group.
The – Games- App has games that improve retentivity when compared to reading only. Creating a learning games portal that promotes learning especially on STEM subjects is of great value. These games, though not created by Kytabu, are closely curated and monitored for impact while opening up opportunities for local game developers with an understanding of local cultural behavior and games.
The -Virtual classroom- App is for closed chat rooms managed by a class teacher where students can converse with each other on the content discussed in class or other issues of interest. The be released in the BETA version of Kytabu, VCs users will have many more application features that will be an added learning advantage for students and teachers alike.
The -Past Test and Exams- App will be an examination portal that will be online based and will have the previous examinations for the learning curriculum official examinations as well as local and regional examinations for the students to test themselves on. This application will be at its full functionality on the BETA version of Kytabu.
The -More For You- App is the Kytabu app store that will open up the application to other learning applications that are in the EdTech space that have a specific or general use for the end users of Kytabu. This app will be fully functional in the BETA version of the application.
"The Genius in the application is the ability to micro-pay for byte-sized content only when it is needed."
Kytabu has been built on this premise – that educational content needs to be accessible, affordable, convenient, relevant and fun. In our perspective, the only way to achieve the above five qualities while providing a conducive learning environment for our teachers and their students while keeping all other stakeholders productively engaged is using a subscription and leasing model powered by a mobile money payment platform. Here are the six parts of Kytabu that we believe make it very special.
As you study on the application, the application learns from you. An intuitive learning tool.
It fits into the way we buy: sachet economy – and the way we pay for everything; mobile money.
Broadband is costly, so why use it when you can pre-load everything? Then add a SIM for updates.
There is a varied market in the developing world. But the same product has buying pans for both whether as bundled content or a one-off lease.
Data Mining. Tracking learning patterns, content experiences,user progress and general learning trends can only add value to everyone.
Anywhere, anytime and on any platform, we can support teachers and students while helping publishers monitor their material.
How do we get learning content to be available to every student?
In 2012, an idea hashed up by Tonee Ndungu and his father (a local school headteacher) on how to provide textbooks in an affordable but digital means to his school of 64 children seemed distant but logical. Leasing out content in byte-sized chuncks through a mobile money payment fit the local economy of the urban settlement his school was in. Everyone understood the economics of paying very little for only what is needed now, as they worked for the money they would need for what they would have tomorrow. Called the ‘kadogo’ -meaning little- economy in Swahili, education content seemed to be the only frontier the solution had not reached. And so Kytabu ( from the word “Kitabu”, Swahili for ‘book’) was born.
Simplified to a paragraph, the objective of the application is to provide students with access to affordable learning content, that is current and relevant, in a convenient manner that is still fun and engaging. The application, built with the knowledge that the education sector has many stakeholders, creates a conducive working environment for publishers and content developers will bringing in mobile service providers and hardware manufactures into the education sector to grow its impact and capacity. With 7.5 million children in formal schools and another 7.2 million in informal learning environments in Kenya, there has to be more we can do with the 250,000 teachers we have.
Passionate about technology and the opportunity it provides education in the developing world. A dyslexic learner.
A telecommunications engineer with 16 years in the Kenyan Telco sector. Led teams in Orange, Safaricom and Econet.Now leads Kytabu.
A content management professional, teacher and robotics enthusiast. She heads the content integration, animation and interaction on Kytabu.
Android lead for Kytabu based in Nairobi with a love for code and a three man team to boot. The Muscodeteers is what we call them.
Product and Marketing lead for content, delivery and feedback generation for Kytabu. She makes sure we keep everyone happy.
The daring innovator from Guinea with a passion for innovation in Africa & education. Head of Kytabu innovations in Francophone Africa.