The need for enlightenment in the community led Humphrey Musila, a US-based Kenyan student to launch African Tutor an online platform where young people across the African continent can access information such as scholarships, jobs and many other opportunities.
According to Musila, the idea was born last year November while in college and he registered the company in Kenya in a move to fill the gap.
“I realized that there was a wide gap between young people in a country like US and countries in Africa in terms of access to opportunities and resources. Despite many miles away from my home country, I decided it was my responsibility to bridge that gap by giving back to my community- to the best of my knowledge.”
The African Tutor is not only creating jobs for highly qualified graduates to become tutors but also helping the youth to access information such as scholarships, jobs among others. Currently pursuing studies in International relations and computer science, Musila says he has an extensive background for community service having volunteered in a number of initiatives with several groups of youth.
“I’m passionate about youth and global affairs, social media marketing, research and writing. African Tutor seeks to be a social enterprise to empower youth through education by making available to them useful information about institutions of higher learning, linking students to tutors and providing stationery such as books, pens and pencils to libraries and schools. Students can log on our website and sign up to get a tutor. Likewise, highly qualified graduates can apply to be tutors and be paid for their services,” he says.
Musila says the platform seeks to address challenges in education as well as employment and is working to partner with more colleges and universities around the world, enabling students to access more educational opportunities. It has also modelled its website to enable anybody, despite their location, to donate books and other useful academic resources.
“You will further bear me witness that Africa as a continent is in dire need for books and other academic resources. We have tried our best as a social enterprise to collect books and distribute them to different institutes learning,” Musila told TechMoran. “Much needs to be done and thus African Tutor’s vision is to introduce “mobile libraries” that will ensure all students despite their backgrounds will have equal access to books and other resources. The “mobile libraries” will seek to improve the academic status of African school going children and create a culture of education in Africa. Join us at African Tutor as we seek to make our vision a reality.”
Literally there are hardly any enough tutors online in the African Continent and to Musila this is sickening owing to the fact that technology has highly taken the center stage in many African countries. There is need to make available of online tutors in Africa to boost the standards of education. Different students learn in different ways. Some take a little more time to pick up the information being taught at school while others need a challenge. Whatever the reason, tutors are vital to the educational process because they go beyond the attention given to a student in a regular classroom setting.
The high cost of broadband is an issue that urgently needs to be addressed. However, Musila says he is hopeful that the number of new fiber optic cables linking Africa to international networks is set to provide a major boost to overall connectivity. With such an improvement to broadband connectivity, the statup says it will be in a position to make education affordable to students in Africa. In addition, African Tutor will be in a position to launch an e-learning platform to provide certified courses for learners not only in Kenya but also across the African continent. Courses like, web application architectures, social entrepreneurship, financial accounting, programming cloud services for Android Handheld systems, basic science of public health, computer forensics and security- to mention a few. In short African Tutor is seeking to connect the continent of Africa through education. This will boost the standards of education not only in Kenya but also across the African continent.
In his view the industry players have not yet done enough to address education, skills development and capacity building. There is an urgent need to improve the relevance and quality of the education that children receive. Illiteracy levels are still very high and thus school going children and young people in general lack the awareness necessary to improve on their education status. Part of the solution to the above challenges is through making use of technology to improve on those challenges.
On the other hand, there is an urgent need to contribute sufficiently to Africa’s long-term development by engaging the time and talent of young people in Africa. We can’t just sit down and wait to see our ‘home-grown’ talent vanish in thickness. Something ought to be done. Believe you me, if young people had the resources and the necessary platform to showcase their talents- they would in turn use their talents to make ends meet.
Five years ago when Musila was in high school he never had the chance to use computers at school as part of his learning neither did his teachers use interactive whiteboards and so are other schools across the continent of Africa. This is a clear manifestation that a lot need to be done in the education sector.
Regardless of that, he’s glad that internet access and computer skills have slowly started to take shape as the important tools for getting information, services and ensuring employability; likewise most governments have started to take measures in equipping schools with modern technology.
African Tutor’s scholarship and other opportunities for youth are specifically targeted to the young people in Africa. The information is current and updated on a daily basis if not weekly.
Not being physically on the ground makes a lot of difference and at times it is demanding especially because of the time difference. Sometimes Musila has to stay late in the night to coordinate things, make several phone calls and return emails- which he considers normal in a setup like this. Some people he wanted to join the firm never did but he has learnt to take risks to maintain growth of the business.
As traditional job-for-life career paths become rarer, Musila says he regarded entrepreneurship as an additional way of integrating into the labour market to overcome poverty and though it has not been an easy ride owing to challenges like access to start-up financing, administrative and regulatory framework, and business assistance and support, it calls to leaders to take more measures especially on the disparate economy and invest more on broadband which is very costly and that’s making Africa to struggle.
” In a nutshell we ought to have faith in our young generation who toil and moil to make ends meet instead of frustrating their efforts, not forgetting the young entrepreneurs who are creating jobs and contributing to the economic standards of Africa,” he says.
African Tutor depends on highly qualified graduates who apply to be tutors and in turn get paid for their services. Students willing to be tutored have to pay some amount to get tutoring services. Meanwhile universities and colleges willing to market their courses online through African Tutor pay for their services.
Musila says he is motivated by business magnate and tech entrepreneur of Amazon.com Jeff Bezos and going through his history and how he rose from rags to riches is just amazing- He initially set up the company in his garage.
Back in his country Kenya, the many young entrepreneurs taking initiatives to bridge the gap between the poor and the rich highly motivate him. It’s true manifestations that if young people are given the platform to show case their talents; they can make a positive impact in the society he says.
“Lastly but not least, a word for the wise: Young people need to be aggressive and make use of every opportunity that comes their way. Always remember that the sky is the limit. You don’t need to build the next Microsoft to make a difference in life or either the next Facebook. You just have to know who you are; and what you are passionate about and then move forward. The time for sitting down and waiting for ‘manna’ from heaven is long gone. Wake up; use your talents to transform Africa for it starts with you and me. It is our ultimate responsibility,” Musila concludes.