This initiative is part of the 2014-15 WISE Accelerator Cohort.
About the initiative
Kytabu is a textbook subscription application that provides students with access to pre-installed digital textbooks on modems, dongles, and tablets. A student can lease a page, chapter or book from the library for an hour, day, week, month, or a school term using a mobile payment system.
The application does more than store books; it has audio books in various languages, learning games, a virtual classroom for in-class chats, a “past tests and exams” section for self-evaluation and an “edu-store” for additional edu-apps.
The application provides students with access to very affordable learning content that is topical and relevant in a fun, engaging and convenient manner. It creates a suitable delivery platform for publishers and content developers while bringing mobile service providers and hardware manufacturers into the education sector to grow its impact but keep it within the reach of the very poor (living on $1 (US) a day or less).
Context and Issue
Textbooks for primary and high schools are very expensive in Africa and most people cannot afford them. Books are inaccessible, not durable, and often outdated and bulky, and as a result, teachers have few resources to prepare their courses, and for students to study.
The Solution and Impact
Kytabu addresses these challenges by providing a simple, low-cost subscription. A majority of Kenyan students can access the Kytabu application and benefit from the textbook app through the device.
The flexibility of the lease period provides a further incentive for students and teachers, allowing them to use the content in the way that best suits them individually.
Content is available in various languages, providing further benefits and encouraging the use of the application in fun and engaging ways.
In addition, the Kenyan government has begun a campaign to make available fully digitized education platforms by 2017. Kytabu, founded by one of Kenya’s edtech veterans and currently run by a leading industry force in digital content delivery, is well-placed to deliver.
Kytabu is already on the leading edge of EdTech in Kenya and has been recognized internationally for its impacts and potential development:
- Winner of the 2nd Global EdTech Startup Awards, elected “The Most Promising EdTech (Education Technology) Start Up of 2015”
- Winner of the Education Award at the African Entrepreneurship Award, sponsored by BMCE Bank of Africa
- Winner of Citi Bank’s ICT awards, under the most innovative social impact solution category
The project representatives plan to be a regional service provider with a continent-wide expansion strategy with global technology and mobile service provider partners.
The future plans include developing an even more intuitive application with culturally specific and student-centric content for the whole East African region.