Recent efforts in Tanzania to expand access to secondary education have focused on the construction of new schools and new buildings, while they have neglected to account for the increased demand for learning materials like books. Furthermore, the expansion of the secondary school system has stretched the workforce of teachers, leaving many rural schools with few teachers and very few books to study from. Enrollment has increased tenfold over the past decade, while the percentage of students passing their secondary national exams has decreased, dropping from 90% to around 50%.
TETEA has planned a project that will help students throughout the country have affordable access to educational resources. These resources are accessible via text message. In our pilot project, we suggested that students form study groups to reduce the cost of using the service, which is just the cost of the text messages sent.
How it works
A student sends a message to our dedicated number (+255 746 267 898) and receives a menu of subjects in response. She can then select which particular topic she is interested in. As the topic gets narrowed down, the system replies with key information, which include definitions, formulas, and other information.
Plans for the Future
In the future, TETEA is looking into partnering with telecoms to provide a discounted rate for the message as well as developing a more efficient menu using USSD. Another extension we are considering is the development of an app for smartphones that will also allow access to the same database.