Injini, a non-profit organization, has recently revealed the first group of 12 edtech startups selected for the Mastercard Foundation EdTech Fellowship program which aims to support growth-stage edtech ventures in enhancing learning outcomes, as part of the Mastercard Foundation Fellowship, which operates across Africa.
The implementation of education technology, also known as EdTech, presents a promising opportunity to enhance the state of education in South Africa. With minimal progress in literacy rates and a decline in math and science achievements, there is an urgent requirement for effective solutions. Fortunately, these entrepreneurs have acknowledged this need and are dedicatedly developing innovative approaches to address these challenges.
Krista Davidson, Executive Director of Injini, expressed the difficulty in selecting only 12 from the hundreds of applicants, given the impressive solutions already making a positive impact on learners across the country. Davidson is confident in the ability of the fellowship to assist each one individually in growing their impact and improving educational outcomes in South Africa.
The Mastercard Foundation EdTech Fellowship is an initiative of the Mastercard Foundation Centre for Innovative Teaching and Learning (CITL), which partners with technology and innovation hubs and EdTech accelerators across Africa.
Its aim is to support edtech startups with potential for scale and impact, with the initiative starting in 2019. The first year supported 12 African edtech firms from seven countries, collectively reaching over 800,000 learners to date.
The chosen startups will receive direct funding support worth over R1,000,000 (~ $540,000) in equity-free venture funding, product quality evaluation and certification, intensive skills development, coaching and mentorship, bespoke market research, and market access through Injini’s network of stakeholders across the education innovation landscape.
The selected startups for the fellowship program are as follows:
- Afrika Tikkun Bambanani, which standardizes the ECD curriculum, collaborates with renowned researchers and educators to equip South African children with specialized educational tools.
- Ambani Africa, which has successfully developed learner-focused products for language learning, utilizing augmented reality, animation, and gamification. They offer a free language app that currently offers six African language options.
- BuzzKidz Buzz-in-a-Box (BIAB), an EdTech solution that helps South African teachers provide creative arts education to learners through a comprehensive curriculum covering music, drama, and dance, backed by research on play-based learning.
- Click Learning, an NGO that helps underserved primary schools in South Africa improve foundational literacy, numeracy, and digital skills through the deployment of relevant online programs.
- Digify Africa, a chat-based learning platform that delivers interactive micro-learning through WhatsApp to low-income users in Africa, allowing learners to access lessons wherever and whenever they want and at their own pace.
- FunDza Literacy Trust, which offers a ‘library on a phone’ where readers, writers, and course participants can connect with FunDza through a mobile-friendly and data-light site. The platform publishes reading and writing materials that ignite a love of reading, specifically aimed at teens and young adults who have never previously identified as readers.
- Matric Live, a multifunctional education app with interactive lessons, gamification of learning, and an exam simulation feature for practising exam-like questions.
- Reflective Learning, a data-driven solution that helps teachers identify learning gaps and provides personalized learning pathways to empower learners to catch up on their backlogs.
- Resolute Education, which provides robotics and coding programs for schools and tertiary institutions, following the CAPS curriculum, offering SACE-accredited teacher training and support, cost-effective robotics kits, and an LMS for educators and learners.
- Yenza, a platform that offers smart career technology that intuitively guides and recommends successful career pathway journeys for individuals, combining the latest in psychometrics, data science, and intelligent design.
- Zaio, an online platform that specialises in providing highly interactive educational content on digital skills such as coding, including on-demand live support, at a fraction of the expected cost.