This is part 2 of our interview with Toyosi Akerele-Ogunsiji, Founder of Passnownow. Click here for part 1 of this interview

Reception of Passnownow by Nigerians

The results and comments from our users keep us going. They’ve been very helpful with word of mouth marketing and they have proved extremely powerful in our journey. From inception till date, we have delivered over 2 Million Lessons and roughly about the same number of tests to the students and teachers who use our services. As at today with a steady weekly 65% incremental growth in terms of our user base and daily inbound registrations, it’s no surprise that on alexa.com, we are the highest-ranking E-Learning/EdTech Website in Nigeria given that our current users are from about 25 states covering the 6 geopolitical zones of Nigeria. Our stats show that cumulatively, passnownow.com users are 44% Students, 37% Teachers and 19% Parents.

Of prime concern to us at Passnownow.com are the students and teachers not just the technology, and being the only core curriculum based education content portal in Nigeria for High Schools in addition to the other services we provide, our widespread acceptance around the urban parts of the country and interestingly, a lot of the rural areas amongst students and teachers is telling of the groundswell of receptiveness for passnownow.com. It’s obvious that we are sending help to the millions of students who or whose parents have mobile phones and other gadgets {most cheap and low end} but have few/no schools or well-equipped teachers or infrastructure in their communities. We are also resolute in our commitment to support teachers who do not have the quality of required textbooks and teaching materials to prepare lesson notes for classroom instruction. We’re glad to see thousands of teachers in public schools using our class notes online to teach in classrooms, parents helping their children and wards register to study via web and mobile to augment class lessons & students studying all their school subjects on our website.

Relationship With Government

We will be launching our ICT/Digital Skills Training Program for Secondary School Teachers and Students in partnership with some State Governments and Foreign Corporations in a couple of months from now. We have already finalized the Training Curriculum and will commence selection of participants shortly.

However, the hesitation of Governments at various levels in Nigeria to digitize education in Nigeria makes students, teachers, the entire education system and all of us losers and we encourage all public-sector stakeholders to take risks on EdTech, think out of the Box and become champions of a future in which Children can engage in personalized learning and guide their own education after all research has shown that E-Learning is more effective than traditional methods of Education. We also hope that Private Sector, Philanthropies, Foundations and Charities will partner with us to provide phones, tablets and other learning gadgets loaded with passnownow.com’s bespoke education content to students and teachers and not just schools and classrooms in addition to working with us to drive awareness on the importance of e-learning in Nigeria.

We excitedly look forward to a Nigeria where teaching stimulates curiosity amongst students and challenges them to invent and innovate and we hope that Teachers will also embrace Tech and not feel threatened that they will be replaced with Gadgets or that they will lose their Jobs as Technology takes flight into the learning environments. Teachers are the bedrock of Education and Technology only complements their efforts, Teachers are irreplaceable in the real sense of the word. We are proud of the thousands of them who currently use Passnownow.com in their Classrooms and we look forward to switching on the light of EdTech and E-learning for many more of them as time unfolds.

Challenges

It’s amazing that tech has disrupted most major sectors in Nigeria except for maybe, education and healthcare. There are clear impediments but we keep improving our team and product design systems to meet the needs of our users. We launched in 2012 as a free service and only started charging fees in mid-2017 after realizing that it was unsustainable given the enormous operational costs of paying our multi-skilled Team members, maintaining our servers, managing our increasing number of users amongst other things. We even took a short break to go through a restructuring and strategy redefinition phase and surprisingly the upsurge of registrations and members this year has been the highest ever since our Launch. For many children especially those in the rural areas, English Language is also a barrier so we need to consistently rethink strategy and implementation and we are already working on creating instructional video content for the subjects and translating the subjects in the scheme of work into local languages as well but all these cost a ton of money so we are working frantically to enlist more financial support to scale the product.

Challenges such as high-level illiteracy even amongst teachers and students and wide access to gadgets as our users are a virgin audience who are not as tech savvy as other categories of people, poor internet service in rural communities, an environment that engenders corruption, where students and parents call to offer us money to provide answers for ongoing external examinations amongst many others, are those we work assiduously to tackle daily.

Our processes are rigorous and we are meticulous in our content creation to ensure our learning resources are constantly relevant, kept up to date and are easy to understand. Our quality assurance unit that verifies and approves content before publishing for public use painstakingly vet every single note and its accompanying assessment to ensure they are top notch and meet acceptable ethical local and global standards. You will also agree that Passnownow.com’s goal of digitally democratising access to education content for all requires a little more contemplation, planning, quality assurance measures and multi-stakeholder buy-in.