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KAINO is a source of Blended STEM Teaching Guides for ECD centers.

KAINOafrica

location_on Uganda
KAINO is an inclusive and equitable web and mobile education app that delivers STEM blended curriculum-aligned Teaching Guides to Early Childhood Development centers in Uganda using the KAINOtab.
Empower a Teacher, Empower Africa...

Alfred Opio, Founder & CEO

Overview

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Anyone can submit their innovation to HundrED Open. All information on this page is provided by the innovator and has not been checked by HundrED. Innovation page has been created by Alfred Opio on June 29th, 2020
Key figures

Innovation Overview

ALL
Target Group
500
Children/Users
1
Country
2018
Established
For-profit
Organisation
49
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Updated on January 15th, 2021
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about the innovation

KAINOafrica, Inspire the NEXT Generation...

What we do?

1. Level the ground between rural and urban ECD schools so that no one is left behind when more children in rural areas have access to quality educational content. We intend to provide free KAINOtabs to each caregiver on our system to access our well-crafted, STEM infused and national curriculum-aligned teacher guides via our web and mobile apps without the need for internet data subscription.

2. Assess learning in ECD schools to make it a serious national and international goal. This means using well-designed child assessments (EDI & IDELA) to gauge the health of education systems and not primarily as tools for administering rewards and punishments. It also means using the resulting learning measures to spotlight hidden exclusions, make choices, and evaluate the progress of children.

3. Act on evidence to make ECD schools work for all learners because schooling is not the same as learning. Evidence on how children learn has exploded in recent decades across the world and along with an increase in educational innovation technology (EdTech). Uganda can make much better use of this evidence to set priorities for their own ECD practices and innovations.

4. Capture Big Data in ECD Education to align and influence education actors and policymakers to make the whole system work for learners. Uganda must recognize that all the available classroom education innovation is unlikely to have much impact simply because of the huge data gap which in turn causes the systems not to support learning. By taking into account this real-data gap and influencing everyone who has a stake in learning, the Ugandan government can use this data to support innovative ECD educators on the front lines.

Why we do it?

Our Teacher Guides Service enables Caregivers (nursery school teachers) to access and deliver STEM blended lessons to their children because we understand that ECD opens a critical and singular window of opportunity. The teacher guides are accessed via a web and mobile app using the KAINOtabs which the ECD caregivers can use to access the teacher guides and read any book at any time, anywhere for over 2 weeks on a single charge. We take the Uganda national ECD curriculum framework and redevelop it by blending in the STEM approach and the British national curriculum for a higher quality of learning. This solution can improve the cognitive, socio-emotional, language development skills and impact the lives of over 25,000 ECD teachers in Uganda alone who don't have access to quality content fit for the 21st-century learners. According to the World Bank, for every $1 spent on this kind of ECD program by a government, a return of between $6 - $13 is likely to occur which is one of the best investments for any African nation. The innovation seeks to provide a solution through the following;

1. DIGITAL teacher’s guides ACCESS and TRAINING to CAREGIVERS

2. PROGRESS TRACKING and ATTENDANCE MANAGEMENT for teachers, children & school administrators.

3. FREE CONTENT access for all learners.


Media

See this innovation in action

ICT in education, dawn of a new era
School and learning for us was a whole lot different from learning today. Reading about a topic for example would mean going into the library, scouting for all books that might have the information you are looking for, flip through the pages one by one until you get or fail to get what you want. Today, it is a matter of punching what you are looking for into Google and you will have the information you are looking for,” Martin Mukasa, a civil engineer, shares his experience. “Today, one does not necessarily have to buy physical textbooks because they can buy them online, make screenshots of what they are reading about, so no need for printing costs,” he adds. At all levels of education, more and more technological advancements are being realised in bettering both the teacher and learner experiences. Increasingly, new technologies are entering the classroom both in and outside Uganda, most recent of those being the Kaino Tablet crafted for the Ugandan student by Kaino Africa. George Couros, the author of the Innovative Mindset and educator, once noted on his blog that, “technology will never replace great teachers, but technology in the hands of a great teacher can be transformational.” It is on this very philosophy that Kaino is based – putting technology in the hands of great teachers for a transformative change in the teacher learner experience. “…the opportunities teachers are afforded now are truly transformational for our learners,” Couros adds. About the tab During its launch at Skyz Hotel Naguru last week, Alfred Opio, the chief executive officer Kaino Africa, said the new Education Technology (EdTech) tablet comes with curriculum aligned teacher guides that show the teacher lesson plans; how they are supposed to proceed with the class, what examples to give as well as time the lesson is supposed to start and end. “It also comes with well-prepared notes since we partner with the best content providers to provide content relevant to Ugandans. It has offline and online past papers, exams and instant assessments at the end of the tests. In addition, are digitalised text books from credible publishers that are cheap (between USD1 to USD10) while maintaining quality,” he explains. Furthermore, it is a 3G triggered device powered by android, running on geo-fencing technology and has a 24/7 GPS system running to conquer and manage teacher time management and attendance. Since the system is preset on what a teacher is supposed to be teaching, it also has a self-assessment bar that helps teachers track their progress which is accessible to the parent and school administrators “However, one is also able to access the system through the two versions - the android application which can be downloaded, and the web application that is accessed on our website. The tab, is therefore, our main product channel to be primarily used by teachers,” Opio said. Concerns On the part of parents, Margaret Nimusiima Kalyango, expressed concern that though the tablet is a step in the right direction towards incorporating technological changes in our education system, she is skeptical about the cost this might come with. “What if my child’s school does not subscribe to the system, but I have bought the tab and yet the teacher expects them to have notes that they specifically give them in class, how acceptable will the notes that come on the tab be?” Nimusiima asks. Opio explains that the plan is to start with pre-primary school and primary, then secondary up to university eventually. “The product is up and running, but it is still on a private beta. So, we are going to pilot this in three schools in Uganda for one term. After finalising with the tests, it will be commercialised in 2019,” he reveals.
Ugandan startup KAINOafrica launches e-learning solution
Ugandan startup KAINOafrica is piloting its e-learning solution KAINOtab in three schools, offering teachers, students and parents access to online guides and textbooks, assessment tools and educational games both online and offline. The KAINOtab academic content hub is available via web and mobile apps, with the startup describing itself as an academic content aggregator involved in the digitisation and gamification of African curriculums.  Its system works both online and offline, and is being piloted in three schools with a total of around 5,400 pupils. Chief executive officer (CEO) Alfred Opio said KAINO had spotted a huge gap in the African market after studying the impact of digitised learning in places where it is in use, and decided to create a scalable model for low and middle income countries. “We plan to commercialise the KAINO system in January in Uganda, but we are developing a SaaS model that can allow any school in Africa and the rest of the world to easily plug into the system and make use of it based on a subscription model,” he told Disrupt Africa. The startup is bootstrapped and currently being incubated by investment company Zaccai Investments.
EdTech for All: Interview With KAINOafrica
Achieving inclusive and quality education for people living both in cities and rural areas is considered to be the primary goal for developing countries. The chronic teacher shortage and poor teaching standards leave little hope for individual self expression and community empowerment. At the same time the proliferation of handheld Internet and declining data prices popularize EdTech worldwide. Though it is hard to underestimate the role of a teacher in the education process, mobile applications simplify their work and increase the level of pupil and student engagement that eventually results in their performance. Today we sit down to talk with Alfred Opio, Founder and CEO of KAINOafrica. It is an Ugandan EdTech and data driven start-up that empowers teachers by supplying them with KAINOtabs and digital educational content like textbooks with teacher guides at a low cost. Refugees and the most needy can get them free of charge.  What is your story? How did it influence your decision to start Kainoafrica?  Alfred Opio: I was brought up as a Christian who strongly believes in God and thank God for this opportunity. I’ve a background in Industrial Engineering and Management from Kyambogo University in Kampala with a major in process engineering and quality improvement. All the way from my high school, I was into computers and technology. I always found myself fixing electronics and computer related things but ended up doing engineering. At University I built innovative startups so different from what I studied which worked well for a while but ended up failing. I can now clearly say it was due to a big knowledge gap in the startup eco-system.  My vision for KAINO started being molded when I had a chance to go to a first class quality school and later went to a very moderate quality school and was alarmed by the huge inequality gap: excelling in this moderate school made me realize that my passing wasn’t based on how and what was being taught in class, but was rather about the extra effort (looking for good content) I individually put in because I always felt the educational system was too limited and conventional.  Having experienced the huge gap in our education sector – particularly the exclusion and inequality of access to quality education content, I started conceptualizing and writing down my idea and building concepts on how I would bridge this gap. I delved into intensive reading and decided to take some free courses online on applications development and financial management. I mainly used MOOCs from COURSERA and EDX. Entrepreneurs should have no excuse for not acquiring knowledge which is something many young people are yearning for.  With substantial knowledge, my vision had now gotten clearer, but the challenge was how and where to get funds to run as at this point bootstrapping wasn’t doing it.  I strongly felt I needed a mentor and had to take on a job at Skyz hotel – one of the most prestigious hotels here in Kampala – where I worked as a security officer just so I could get access to the proprietor, Mr. Patrick Bitature who is a successful entrepreneur but I must say I didn’t succeed in meeting him as its too hard getting access and meeting these people.  It was during this time that Africa Blockchain conference happened and there I met a gentleman known as Brad Miller from Z-Cash. All I needed was a mentor; someone to look at my proposal and give me a guide or way forward. I asked him to look at my business proposal which he did: After looking at it, he asked me one thing; “What are you still doing here!”. He said I needed to have started the day before. But my issue was a team – as I had only a co-founder.  The following month I did quit my job and started pitching to individuals to join my team on an equity basis. During this time the developers were kinda reluctant to further the system development since we didn’t have any funding but at this point I couldn’t accept any limitation so i decided to further my course on building apps with React Native from The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. When I noticed how much knowledge I had received and how it had changed my life and understanding of the underlying technology needed to run my startup, I wondered why we as African still sell content!  I then decided to raise funding from friends and family, form a content development team and I must say God blessed me with the most wonderful team especially when it comes to their expertise and create content for all African children which any user can access free of charge too. And that’s how the KAINO system was brought to life.  What kind of activities does KAINOafrica do?   A. O. : At KAINOafrica, we stand for teacher empowerment as we believe teachers are the number one driving force in schools while leveraging on technology to transform how they get access to and deliver national curriculum aligned lessons across Africa. We use the KAINOtab as our main product distribution channel but also use web and mobile apps. We also provide teacher training workshops to each school that enrolls onto the KAINO system. We strive to create a leveled ground between rural and urban schools with increased access to low cost and quality education content for earners in Africa.  Where do you see your company in 5 years?  A. O. : In the next five years, we should have a remarkable presence in East and Central Africa with over 10,000 schools and 20 million children’s lives impacted by ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong learning opportunities for these African children.  What makes your products special?  A. O. : The teacher guides are a masterpiece designed in-house by a team of highly experienced experts and they deliver a blended hybrid curriculum made up of the African curriculum framework with a touch of the STEM approach, British, American and the Canadian curricula all in one for every Country as per the Nation’s curriculum development centers. The KAINOtab allows teachers to have easy access to digital textbooks at a touch of a button. The system can be deployed in the most rural part of Africa.  How many customers have you had so far?   A. O. : Having launched the KAINO system on the 11th of September 2018, we have been building a more robust cloud based system which we’ve just completed and now developing ECD content for pre-primary schools. We are still running a pilot test of this system with 1,000 parents, 500 children, 50 teachers and 4 schools including 1 refugee camp (Bidi-bidi refugee camp in Yumbe district). This is our first year in the market but the demand for the system is overwhelming and can’t be met because of the intensity of the capital investment.  In the photo: Alfred Opio (on the right) explains kids how to use KAINOtab. Photo Credit: KAINOafrica  What do you think are the main challenges for the development of Edtech projects in Africa?  A. O. : Wow, this is an interesting concern because it has killed great EdTech projects that were developed before KAINO. Here is the real challenge: many EdTech entrepreneurs develop systems with the idea of generating a lot of money out of the system. so the money becomes the driving factor and not solving the problem revealed to them. Once they hit the market, schools love the system and agree to pay for it.  Once schools enroll, they simply don’t pay; primarily because of the parents who just take long to understand the system. So the payment becomes a real snag and sadly many EdTech entrepreneurs deactivate the school accounts and end up shelving the system and looking for jobs with great frustration making it a lose-lose situation.  The EdTech terrain in Africa needs a mind that is after solving a problem because the value of the system must firstly before anything be communicated to the potential customers and the impact will definitely be felt by many potential investors/NGOs.  So EdTech entrepreneurs have to really be patient with the market.  Editor’s Picks — Related Articles:  What are your thoughts about the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals)?  A. O. : Looking at the SDGs, I believe they are carefully well thought out to make the world a better place. As KAINOafrica, we are contributing the SDGs 4 (We are developing high quality education content for the consumption of all children regardless of their location – rural or urban), 8 (we create descent work and economic growth by training the school teachers on the best teaching practices of the 21st century and technology usage and increasing economic growth by increasing the sales of the local publishers using our digital textbook platform) and 10 (we enable the children in the rural and excluded areas to get access to the same quality education content that their counterparts in the urban areas are exposed to at a very low cost or even free of charge)
KAINOafrica wins 100 Million at NIISP Innovation Awards
Leading the age of disruption; the spirit of innovation Ministry of ICT and National Guidance through its NIISP program which was designed to facilitate the creation of an ICT Innovation ecosystem and marketplace for Ugandan innovative digital products held the second cohort of innovation Awards on 26 June 2019 where 60 winning innovators were given grants up to a total of 100 million UGX per innovator to mature their products, build enterprises and penetrate the market.  The program has specific objectives which are;  To provide systematic and sustainable support to national ICT innovators To promote ICT products, services and solutions for improved service delivery as part of a wider digital ecosystem. To establish and operationalize ICT innovation parks. To promote local electronics manufacturing and assembly. The award ceremony that was graced by Rt. Hon. Prime Minister Rukahana Rugunda, the Minister of ICT and National Guidance, Hon. Frank K Tumwebaze and other dignitaries had us recognized as one of the outstanding innovators who received financial support of 100 million UGX from the government of Uganda. Our Founder and CEO Alfred Opio (who represented KAINO at this event) and the entire team express our sincere gratitude for this grant and are ecstatic to now be able to move forward our project in a timely manner.

Milestones

Achievements & Awards

June 2020
Innovation page created on HundrED.org
June 2019
KAINOafrica wins NIISP Awards
September 2018
KAINOtab is launched
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