M-Shule, the AI-powered SMS-based Learning hub in Kenya


M-Shule startup was launched in 2016 by Claire Mongeau and Julie Otieno. The two founders are the current chief technology officer (CTO) and chief technology officer (CTO) respectively. The startup work by creating a mobile platform to facilitate AI- personalized learning services to students via SMS.

The most recent learning innovation is the use of artificial intelligence (AI) which has a great impact on student’s effectiveness. The discovery is geared to the personalized learning to solve bridge the gap between child-teacher ratios in the continent. There are large numbers of students from rural areas who are locked out due to minimum internet accessibility.

Despite the growth of innovation in the education sector in Africa, most of the ed-tech ideas are based on internet connectivity. They tend to assume that all users are capable of accessing internet services in their comfort zones.

According to Claire Mongeau, most students and students in the continent were investing too many resources in learning activities. Unfortunately, there are no suitable tools available to them especially rural residents. She added that together with Julie Otieno, they took the opportunity to launch M-Shule programme to attract the mass market.

The startup carried out a pilot study for the last 18 months in Kenya where 400 students from 15 schools were involved. The initiative operates by integrating the national curriculum standards alongside technology to all students via SMS. The platform also tracks learners’ performance which is presented respective parents or guardian and schools for mentorship and recommendations. Students who use the initiative stand a chance of improving their learning through personalization of education content.  Since the learners can adjust according to their own pace, the pressure of failures is mimicked.

During the development face, the system received support from Engineers Without Borders Canada as well as from South African accelerator Injini. Alongside support, M-Shule was the Seedstars World winner of the Nairobi leg. The startup was also named first runner-up during the Global Edtech Startup Awards. The mission of the company is to reach about one million students in East Africa region in the next five years. It is worthwhile to note that the startup is focused to drive forward 21-century innovation through modern learning technology.


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Written by Denis Opudo

Am an engineer who's a tech blogger, hit me up on [email protected] and we base our discussion on technology in Africa and the rest of the world.
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