absence of the schools or Government taking initiative. Well, that is a contradiction in terms, it seems to me.
Over the last three years we have developed three products that could change education, all within a well-known brand we established. These products were developed after serious market research and all three are brilliant in their simplicity and aimed at all school grades as well as colleges, and are focused on delivering content to learners and teachers alike. They weren’t developed in seclusion by an IT company − they were developed with established partners in the industry and feedback from the various members of the education sector, and now we are trying to punt them.
With our products we solve access to content; we solve the print-book problem and many more. We have done practical market tests at schools and have increased in one week an average science and maths understanding for three grade 12 classes, increasing the percentage of learners who passed from 22% to 67%. This was achieved through a winter school project with Curro.
Yet, after having consulted over 200 schools and colleges over the last two-year period, and believe me, we have seen it all and responded to every question you can think of − after all of that, two schools have actually adopted their old ways [of education] and have placed some form of a purchase order. So schools themselves won’t do, let’s et’s move on… We all know w in today’s economy, omy, if you don’t have h confirmed profit in the bag with zero risk and huge return, the investors run for the hills. We have seen 18 investors over two years, with solid product, market and supply chain in place, and all they want to see is no risk. It seems a little feather in their respective caps to simply say they are looking at investing in education. Actually investing in education seems to be just talk. After two years, we have been unable to raise a measly R1.8m, an amount lower than what most private schools pay for marketing. A measly amount that could change education and further the whole industry, and even if it doesn’t work as planned, is still too high a risk for any investor to take a chance on. The solutions are out there, but the market and users need to mature and grow into what’s available. Investors’ money will simply have to be used to finance this waiting game. However, investors don’t want to spend money on waiting and so money spent on recreating solutions that exist already. I’ve seen it dozens of times now over the last three years.
At the moment all I feel is frustration and when I read your article, it simply lit my fire.