TikTok has partnered with Pakistan’s first Edtech start-up, Edkasa, and LUMS to launch a digital learning program to facilitate online education and distance learning for high school students. Driven by TikTok, the program “ExamReady” will promote digital learning designed to help millions of Pakistani students.
Edkasa was started by Fahad Tanveer and Annum Sadiq, a husband, and wife, as they realized the fruitless and outdated education of Pakistan has nothing to offer to Pakistani youth. They need an updated and modernized education facility which no one in Pakistan was offering. Annum said during an interview that;
“We empathize with the fact that parents, teachers, schools, and society at large have a lot of resources, time, and effort vested in high-school students. We want to see students get top marks, continue their higher education, and increase our country’s knowledge-based economy,”
The partnership is year-long, TikTok, Edkasa, and LUMS will collaborate to bring to life over 500 educational videos online covering Chemistry, Physics, and Mathematics, including study tips and exam hacks. The Syed Ahsan Ali and Syed Maratib Ali School of Education at LUMS will provide guidance on teaching methodologies and cover monitoring and evaluation of the project whereas Edkasa, as the implementing partner, will develop all content and host it on TikTok and other social media profiles. The program’s first round of content is expected to go live in August this year.
Farah Tukan, Head of Government Relations & Public Policy at TikTok – Middle East, Turkey, Africa & Pakistan (METAP) said:
“This partnership with LUMS and Edkasa promises digital access to quality education for everyone. We look forward to working together for the nationwide promotion of literacy, and to enable Pakistani students to use our platform to hone their knowledge and skills to set themselves up for successful professional lives.”
Lahore-based edtech Edkasa has raised $320,000 in pre-seed funding led by i2i Ventures, it told MENAbytes today. The round was closed a few months ago but has been announced today. It also includes the participation of Walled City Co, Zayn Capital, and ‘strategic angel investors’ from Southeast Asia. Edkasa has also announced the launch of its exam preparation app for high school (matric and intermediate) students, which went live on Google Play Store earlier this week.
The app has over 4,500 pieces of video content, covering all the topics for Physics, Chemistry, Maths, Biology, and English Grammar. The videos feature ‘top qualified teachers’ explaining different concepts from these subjects (mainly in Urdu). Each video comes with a multiple-choice-questions quiz that the students can take to practice and get instant feedback on their performance.
To gamify the experience, Edkasa also plans to add leaderboards that will list the top performers for different subjects. The app has a total of over 15,000 questions that have been developed by Edkasa’s educators using past papers.
A large part of videos and quizzes available on the app can be accessed for free but for full access, students have two options; an Exam Pack that allows them to access all the subjects available on the app for PKR 3,599 per month and a Single Subject package that enables students to access everything from one specific subject for PKR 899 per month.
The two started Edkasa in 2017 and also tried their luck on Youtube and started a Youtube channel too. Fahad, the CEO of Edkasa said;
“We set goals on what success would look like and when we knew enough to aggressively go after our dream of helping millions of high schools students prepare and do well on their exams,”
The mobile app is available for Android and helps high school students (Grades 9, 10, 11, and 12) prepare for their standardized Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education (BISE) exams. It covers all the twenty exam boards in the country. So, Edkasa is essentially offering a digital alternative to private tuition that the students usually rely on to do well in these exams.
We’ve had the chance to play with the app before its launch and it’s very well made (and easy to use). The students are asked to select their grade, exam type, group, and board. They’re then presented with a short quiz that helps Edkasa assess their learning level and optimize the feed of videos for them (it doesn’t seem like the feed is optimized on the basis of videos at the moment so that is probably work-in-progress). After taking the quiz, the students can start watching the video lessons.
Kalsoom Lakhani, the co-founder and General Partner of i2i Ventures, explaining why they decided to invest in Edkasa, said, “We’ve known Annum and Fahad since Edkasa was a part of the i2i Accelerator, and they are exactly the kind of founders we like to back at i2i Ventures — focused on solving a large problem in a thoughtful and innovative way, learning from their large student user base which has informed the design of their new app.”
“We are bullish about the edtech opportunity in Pakistan, especially in the exam prep space, highlighted by the impact of the pandemic on shifting students into online learning and validated by the growth of edtech in neighboring markets like India and Indonesia,” she added.
The edtech space in Pakistan is quickly evolving. Edkasa is one of the many local and regional players aiming to bring millions of Pakistani students to their platform. Speaking about what makes them different, Fahad stated that;
“Our students are engaged with our work and keep coming back to us because we believe in building with them rather than for them. As educators, we believe in using a growth mindset to encourage students to learn and not be afraid of making mistakes. For example, while giving feedback on grades we make sure students feel encouraged and humanize the learning experience as education is a relationship.”