• Thursday, July 25, 2024
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Our aim is to help schools develop robust digital learning ecosystem – Shonubi

Our aim is to help schools develop robust digital learning ecosystem – Shonubi

Snapplify, an aggregator of digital content in Africa, launched its operations in Nigeria last year. Doyin Shonubi is the sales manager of West Africa at Snapplify and she speaks on how the firm has been increasing its investment in the region in response to the growing market. She also shares plans for promoting literacy through digital libraries. AMAKA ANAGOR-EWUZIE brings the extracts:

The digital learning space today is awash with several edtech products. Tell us about Snapplify; is it just another solution out there?

Snapplify is well-established in the market as a pan-African edtech solution, and we are continually innovating to respond to market needs. It is not just another ‘solution’. Previously, educational institutions ended up having to make use of separate tools to offer digital content, but Snapplify offers a holistic interconnected digital education ecosystem that better supports students and educators.

This includes robust, mature reading technology, content from local publishers in local languages, secure user and identity management, seamless integration with over 600 digital education tools and bulk user account creation technology enabling us to create tens of thousands of user accounts per day for large-scale institution rollouts.

The pandemic led to the broad adoption of tech solutions, but many institutions began to ask if their tech solutions are still serving them. We started seeing that the businesses doing well are those, like Snapplify that are agile and can adapt to market needs – not just to react to these needs, but to predict them.

What has the adoption of Snapplify been like since its inception in South Africa?

Snapplify reaches more than 1 million users in the education space. Thousands of schools, colleges and universities across Africa use Snapplify every day to teach, learn, and access educational content. It became the digital content partner on some of the widest-reaching digital interventions on the continent in both the public and the private sectors.

We are also the home of the largest community of teachers in Africa, working to empower, inspire, and uplift 100, 000 teachers through community platforms, a resource marketplace, and a career portal.

Tell us what informed your decision to provide services to the Nigerian market. What does the future hold for Nigeria and the West Africa region in general?

Snapplify’s SaaS products are accessible worldwide, with hundreds of West African schools already registered for Snapplify Engage. With a focus on increasing access to education, we have chosen to increase investment in the region in order to better serve schools in need. Our decision to expand comes in response to a growing market need which Nigerian schools are actively addressing.

By establishing a local team, we are able to effectively support educators and students while also strengthening relationships with local players who have partnered with us to distribute local curriculum-based content on our platform. We collaborate closely with local stakeholders to foster growth and support for our partners and early adopter schools.

How will you describe the growth of edtech solutions in Nigeria and Africa since Snapplify’s launch in 2012?

Recent years have seen significant growth in edtech solutions in Nigeria. The increased adoption of digital technologies such as mobile devices and affordable internet, combined with the need to improve access to quality education, has presented a significant opportunity for edtech startups to reach a large audience in Nigeria.

In addition, the Covid-19 pandemic highlighted the dire need for hybrid/remote education and accelerated the adoption of technology in Nigeria further.

What kills interest in good technologies like yours is pricing. How affordable are your services?

Snapplify’s award-winning Engage e-learning platform is accessible on a freemium model, designed to lower barriers to entry, equip schools for digital learning, and grow with them. This means that our tools are built to suit any budget; as you grow, so does the offering.

Even if schools do not have the budget available, starting with Engage requires no license fee, so there’s nothing standing in the way of an institution getting started. As an institution or school scales, there is even greater accessibility to solutions.

With the option to upgrade to Engage Professional or Engage Enterprise, added benefits, like gaining access to exclusive procurement discounts, advanced administration tools and integrations, and data analytics become available.

How has Snapplify’s solution been an enabler in helping the Nigerian education sector and institutions achieve their purpose?

At this point, many schools are in the early stages of exploring digital migration, with a primary focus on utilising the Engage library tool. Implementing an ‘evaluation’ approach, it allows for more flexibility to experiment and try new things prior to committing; ultimately making the attainment of digital maturity a smoother process with less risk involved. With access to free local and international content, we are able to support this exploration and transition.

How are you responding to emerging competition in edtech innovations on the continent? Is this an issue for you at all?

Our solutions stand out as truly unique in the market. While other organisations may offer similar services, only Snapplify provides access to a complete range of digital educational tools and resources, all in one convenient location. Our focus is on creating a comprehensive digital ecosystem that includes everything from e-books and digital libraries to cloud-based services for our partners.

At the heart of our offering is a commitment to developing cutting-edge digital educational tools that help students to learn and grow. Our marketplace features both physical and digital educational products and services, and we work closely with global leaders such as Google Education to co-market and collaborate on key projects.

What truly sets us apart is our deep understanding of the unique challenges facing African schools today. Our solutions are tailor-made to reduce data and connectivity requirements, making them far more accessible and practical for students and teachers alike. We are also proud to collaborate with local stakeholders to offer books in students’ home languages, ensuring that our solutions meet the national curricula requirements of new territories as we continue to expand.

How can the Nigerian government and other stakeholders leverage edtech innovation to groom the next generation of leaders?

We firmly believe that digital technology is not just the future, but also the present. We aim to help schools develop a robust digital learning ecosystem that caters to the needs of both teachers and students. We provide curriculum-aligned educational content and innovative technology that give schools full confidence and support in achieving e-learning excellence.

This, however, requires a solid infrastructure and the government’s investment in building necessary digital facilities and providing affordable edtech devices will make it easier for students and educators to access online learning resources.

By collaborating with Snapplify, governments and stakeholders can establish free and affordable personalised learning platforms via our freemium model that caters to different educational levels, including curriculum-aligned content for students and professional development courses for teachers. Through our digital libraries, we are promoting digital literacy as an essential component of the Nigerian curriculum.

Read also: Experts urge women entrepreneurs on digital transformation adoption

What plan does your company have for the Nigerian education sector in terms of partnership?

Snapplify is always looking for partnerships with key stakeholders who are aligned with our mission to increase access to education. Our existing partnerships, across the regions we operate in, span government education departments, publishers, booksellers, and other education businesses.

What have been your greatest challenges and what are the possible solutions?

Of course, there is limited funding for startups but is not the main barrier. There is no single barrier that stands out. Rather, the issue we need to look at is the maturity of the whole ecosystem. We need mature entrepreneurs; we need the skills on the ground for operational execution; we need a commercial environment that is supported by the infrastructure, from connectivity to transactional facilities. The environment needs to mature, to make it more investable.

Covid proved the relevance of and need for technology, but it also highlighted the many hurdles to widespread application. Partnering with those who fill the gaps rather than trying to build all your own solutions and being able to present a broader solution to the market, is compelling.

Understanding the ecosystem and adapting your business and revenue model to how your customers are likely to buy ensures that you get to walk a far longer road with your customers. Edtech has many challenges, understand your part in the solution and partner with complementary businesses. That is something Snapplify is really good at.

What plans are being put in place to create more opportunities for the development of talent in Nigeria and West Africa?

As a part of Snapplify, we have additional platforms that cater exclusively to teachers. Our Teacha! Inspire and Teacha! Resources platforms offer various resources to help educators stay informed and excel in their profession. These consist of on-demand courses relevant to local teachers, live webinars to help stay updated on the latest teaching strategies and trends, and teacher communities that provide a platform to connect with local like-minded professionals and share best practices and ideas.