Millions of students in African are unable to afford university education due to prevalent economic hardship and the dearth of funding opportunities. For instance, 51% of young people in South Africa cannot afford tertiary tuition, according to Stats SA.
For those who are able to get higher education, many seek financing to study in top universities abroad so as to better position themselves for gainful employment and/or entrepreneurship.
A 2016 study by the UNESCO Institute for Statistics shows that the number of African students seeking higher education abroad grew by 24% from 343,370 in 2006 to 427,311 in 2014. Of all the countries sending students abroad, Nigeria led with 71,351 students.
However, the fact remains that several African students cannot access quality education in tertiary institutions on the continent, let alone overseas.
Enter, Scholarships Africa
This access problem is what EdTech platform, Scholarships Africa plans to solve by democratising global study and professional development opportunities for students across Africa.
While speaking to Technext about the recently launched app, Scholarships Africa CEO, Sunday Paul said:
We hope to be able to solve the issue of access to resources to afford quality education and job training programs. Research shows that quality education and job training increases employability and job creation.Sunday Paul
I checked out the Scholarships Africa app for Android and indeed it aggregates an extensive catalogue of local and international scholarships as well as other funding opportunities for African students and professionals. See iOS version here.
Registering as a first-time user proved quite straightforward. I simply had to fill in personal details including full name and email to sign up.
After logging in, what quickly caught my fancy was the app’s sleek user interface (UI) and superb user experience (UX). The search bar, menu bar and scholarship directory are finely integrated into the home page.
Query response time was very fast and button clicks loaded results without any glitches or broken links.
Together with award details including deadlines and funding amount, each scholarship listed on the app contains a direct link to the main application. Also, users can easily track their pending and/or completed applications.
Some other edtech platforms like After School Africa provide a similar service, but Paul says “Scholarships Africa is the only app where students can find scholarships that are sponsored by individuals and local organizations, churches/mosques, and businesses in their communities or worldwide, in addition to other aggregated opportunities.”
The app currently offers users free access and individuals or organisations list their scholarships without being charged a fee. Responding to whether paid subscription might later be introduced, Paul maintains that this is not happening in the nearest future.
According to him, the startup isn’t focused on making money at the moment.
While the Scholarships Africa app will soon integrate a feature whereby people can earn through referrals, I suspect that once this becomes available, the startup may then go about monetizing the platform.
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