In one year, your child spends only 3 months with you and the rest of the 7 months in school. You get information from school approximately 3 times in those 7 months. By the time you get this information (Read Report Cards), there is nothing you can do to contribute to the child’s performance for that term.
Daily Feedback About Work Vs. One Feedback in 3 Months about your child!
On the other hand, you get actionable information about your business (if you run one) on a daily basis. If you are employed, chances are that you generate or use reports nearly every day or every week. Now, as a parent, you are preparing your child to be your “future leader” or “heir to your throne”…are you doing it well with this picture?
Several studies have shown that there is an improvement in performance when parents, guardians or loved ones are involved and engaged in the academic studies of a child (You can google that and see)
What Can You Do If You were up to it?
What if you wanted to do something about this major gap in the school system, what would be your options?
- Probably call the school occasionally to ask for the specific data. I pray that the school has systems in place to answer your call as and when you need it
- Probably you make a journey to the school occasionally and interface with the teachers and administration. (Schools have very few parent visiting days in a term)
The truth is that those might be the only options available to you and if that is the case, then:
- Do you have the time to do it?
- Do you have the needed resources to pull it off?
We caught up with the CEO of EduHelp at an Education Meetup organized by the Innovation Village Kampala few weeks back. Later on, we organized a brief interview with Dorothy Babirye to share some light on this amazing intervention in Parent Engagement.
Dorothy is a graduate in Information Systems Management from Makerere University. The world of Technology has been of great interest to Dorothy from way back because of the environment she was raised in. Some of her siblings and relatives were already in the field and were doing amazing things that she aspired to do also. Babirye promised herself as early as second year in Secondary School that she would venture in I.T.
She would spend most of her time at Internet Cafes using the PCs and devouring information. When her parents noticed this drive and interest, they decided to invest in a PC and Internet connection at home. Today, Dorothy’s mum (being an Education expert herself) is a core member of the advisory board at EduHelp.
The EduHelp Idea was conceived by the CEO while she was still at Campus! Lot’s of credit goes to her for patience, focus and sticking to it.
“While still at Campus, I thought I do not want to sit in an office and do an 8-5 shift kind of a job. When I realized that there was a communication gap between schools and parents, I knew that is what I wanted to do”
Many people around her were not convinced that delving into the waters of Start up life was the wise thing to do. Many of them wanted Dorothy to find a job and get employed, but she would not have any of it and stuck to her guns all along.
The Concept and Solutions
EduHelp bridges the communication gap between the school and parents so as to update the parent on the progress of a child as a term progresses. This is unprecedented because the norm is for parents to receive “report cards” at the end of the term when the child comes back from school. So EduHelp provides information to the parents throughout the term. A parent can therefore track the performance of a child, as well as the child’s school events as and when they happen.
This way, a parent can know exactly how a child is faring on. A child cannot fake report cards or certificates since the parent is notified even before a report card is printed.
Apart from giving actionable information to the parents, the EduHelp software also helps teachers with analytics as well as grading. A teacher can spend a lot of time allocating grades manually, but the system sorts it.
Information generated from this system is presented in graphical user friendly format and can be easily used to show trends over a long period of time. Bio data being picked from schools can be analyzed based on specific requirements from different types of stakeholders:
- Ministry of Eduction and its Departments
- Non Profit Organizations working on special interest groups such as girls
- Examination Boards such as UNEB
Partnerships with such institutions will make EduHelp a massive value adder in the Education sector.
The EduHelp team has been “overwhelmed” by the response they have received from the schools that they have reached out to. The team believes that in the next 5 or so years, the EduHelp system will be a “household” name and a requirement in schools and by parents in the region.
EduHelp has already enrolled a number of schools in Central, Eastern and Western Regions. According to the CEO, plans are underway to involve the aforementioned stakeholders and push parent Engagement a notch higher. Other countries in the region have been targeted to benefit from this solution. The uptake in Kenya and Rwanda will be interesting to watch as compared to Uganda.
Apart from the common challenge of “finances” Dorothy mentions “Team Formation” as one of the biggest obstacles in developing this startup. “Not everybody sees what you see, and some people do not fall in love with the idea: all they want is to be paid.” So the process of team formation as been painfully iterative for EduHelp over the past several years. However with a solid team of 5, EduHelp is ready to impact the education sector for the better.