Bringing up a child is hard, I wouldn’t know but I’ve been told. Education is hard as well, not in the same degree but wading through the waters of education is not the most easy task – this I know. Now combine the two and you have the hard time that Chris Mwangi was telling me about when we met up.
Chris, a serial entrepreneur and a parent as well tells me that figuring out things when he got his first child was not the easiest task, especially when it came to matters education. Without people to help out, everything can be overwhelming as Chris recalls that even deciding on which school your child should go to, if you can find a few that meet your requirements, can be tasking.
Every good business venture, even the illegal ones, has a back story and Chris’ personal experience was the motivation he needed to set up Malezi. Chris founded Grow Mobile Technology back in 2015, starting with their first product, an online printing service for business cards, The Card Guys, that has now grown to offer much more than business cards but that’s a story for another day. The company’s second product is Malezi Education.
“The education system today is structured such that you have to go to a physical school…”
“Can we give parents a place where they can come and find targeted services for childcare and education to help them navigate through this very important and high value segment of our economy,” starts Chris, as he explains the concept behind Malezi. According to Chris, the vision of Malezi is to bring schooling and learning to children anywhere, anytime. “The education system today is structured such that you have to go to a physical school, but our grand plan is to bring the school to your kid,” he says.
“We wanted to find out what are the big problems in education and child care space that could suitably be addressed by technology and one of the things we found was tutoring,” Chris continues. The first pillar of Malezi Eduction is Malezi Tutors, a platform that enables parents to easily find tutors. “We want to make it very easy for parents to find and hire qualified tutors. Right now, the process of finding a tutor is basically by word of mouth. We have teachers willing to tutor at a good price but they don’t have a way of getting their services to the people who need them,” he adds.
Tutor.malezi.co.ke is simply a market place for tutors, I would say it’s the Uber for Tutors but that’s so cliche. Tutors sign themselves up on the platform and create profiles that feature their relevant experience, the subjects they are offering, locations where they can offer the services and the time schedules that they have. Parents also create accounts and simply find the tutors they need, make an appointment through the platform and then make the payment.
Yes, the payment is made before the services are offered but only as a means to protect both the tutor and the parent. Once the payment is made, the tutor will be notified and if they accept to render the service, the two will be connected to each other through the app. After the service is provided, the parent will be offered the opportunity to give feedback on their satisfaction. In the case that the tutor did not show up or there was substandard services offered, the company will issue a refund or offer another tutor. If no complaint is issued, the tutor will receive their payment after 48 hours.
Chris tells me that they do require tutors to submit a few documents such as their national ID number for verification purposes and they also recommend that tutors submit good conduct certificates and other qualification certificates but he reiterates that these are not mandatory since they don’t want to lock the tutoring platform to only teachers, university students may also sign up as tutors. There’s also a premium verification process for tutors that adds a verified badge on their profile, this, Chris says, is to build more confidence on the platform, as parents can filter out search results only to show verified tutors.
Beyond Formal Learning
Alongside Malezi Tutors, the service includes three other services that are yet to go live; Malezi Exams – a platform that helps students prepare for the Kenya National Examinations, Malezi Learn – a platform that provides digital content for Kenya primary school levels in an interactive learning experience and Malezi Homework – a platform for students and parents to seek help with homework from fellow students, parents and teachers promoting peer to peer learning.
The Malezi education platform in general targets early childhood education all the way to universty students. Chris notes that together with his team, they are working to introduce better services on the platform as they aim to move beyond formal education towards skill learning.