The rise of e-learning in the last decade has brought forth a range of solutions to provide high-quality education to people of all ages. Recent COVID lockdowns have inspired people all over the world to learn new skills at home using free and paid online courses.
But today, the internet services and traditional methods of educational institutions in Iraq have proven to be a bottleneck in accessing e-learning services from home.
E-Learning In Iraq
The term ‘e-learning’ has become more common in day-to-day life in Iraq. Since the COVID lockdowns, universities and ministries have been promoting it as a solution for students to continue learning. However, the term is a new one for many people and starkly contrasts with Iraq’s reality. Although e-learning has been heard of, it was mainly adopted by private educational institutions.
E-learning can support the change of traditional educational processes and include creative and interactive elements. With the emergence of the Coronavirus, the Ministry of Higher Education decided to adopt e-learning in all public institutions. Signs of e-learning had appeared in Iraq in 2015, when Ministerial Order No.1205 was issued in 2015 to form the Higher Committee for E-Learning at the Ministry of Higher Education. However, it wasn’t applied in practice at the time.
Online learning is a new experience in Iraqi society, and its success or failure depends on whether university professors are willing to put in the time and effort to create engaging content. Education is a partnership project between the teacher and the student, both of whom must adapt in this era of crisis education.
New Doors To Be Opened
Schools and universities were among the first to close their doors around the world to tackle the Coronavirus pandemic. UNESCO notes that more than 150 countries have imposed a public closure, forcing more than 80% of students worldwide, an estimated 1.4 billion students, to stay at home.
Educational institutions today seek to face the challenges of the Coronavirus crisis through large investments in the field of e-governance and digital transformation. The effectiveness of educational institutions is no longer measured just by its teaching methods or research but also by its infrastructure.
Such infrastructure must adopt digital administrative governance because of its impact on increasing efficiency. Businesses and institutions are increasingly characterised by rapid change and intense competition.
The closing of schools posed unprecedented challenges to governments, teachers, students, and parents. To ensure the continuity of the educational process, the only practical solution became e-learning. Online learning has now paved the way for startups and ideas to flourish within the field of educational technology (edtech). Eduba is one such startup based in Baghdad that has created a comprehensive school management platform.
The Eduba educational management platform is the first platform that seeks to achieve a comprehensive digital transformation for educational institutions in Iraq. The 6-in-1 system includes:
- Course management
- Human Resources Management
- Evaluation and Assessment
- Video conferencing
In direct challenge to the traditional administration of universities in Iraq that rely on paper-based systems, Eduba is providing a comprehensive and secure virtual environment.
Azad Majid Hasan, Founder and General Supervisor of Eduba
Fayyad Fakhry Atwi, co-Founder and Technical Director of Eduba
The Eduba platform was launched as a joint venture from the Smart Ways for Digital Transformation LLC group of companies: Azad Majeed Hassan and Semicolon Programming and Security represented by Fayyad Atwi.
“In early 2018, I was discussing with my co-founder Fayyad Atwi about the philosophy of digital transformation and the reasons for Iraq’s delay in adopting this idea. After searching for several options in different sectors, the education sector in Iraq was chosen. Education has a huge market size and there is an absence of any project that owns a large share of this market. With this, the choice was made to establish a comprehensive educational and administrative platform for educational institutions” explains Azad.
“It took us about 3 months to choose the name. The criterion was that it must be original and have a historical link that fits with the depth of Iraq as a civilization. After continuous research, we noticed that the first school in Mesopotamia was known as ‘Eduba’, which usually translates to ‘The Home of Slabs’.
The purpose of Eduba at the time was to teach children how to read Sumerian boards and train them to take up certain administrative or government jobs. The school achieved more than that in its wider role as a learning center! Therefore, we made sure to have another modern presence for Eduba, but this time through an educational and administrative platform that uses modern information technology.Azad Hasan
Eduba is used by approximately 2000 students from Baghdad across 17 schools. Despite the electricity cuts and poor internet, Eduba has been successfully adopted and the team has offered technical support and endless storage space to respond to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Recently, Eduba was launched in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the team hope that it will continue expanding into other countries.
Edtech Is More Than A Passing Fad
It is estimated that by 2030, the edtech ecosystem will be one that ‘supports individual learning in a sea of impersonal data and machines. While the benefits are huge, society needs to remain aware of the risks and the need for future generations to retain control of learning technology’.
We have noticed how e-learning has become increasingly important, especially in times of crisis. Many of the factors that drives the global growth of the edtech sector can be found in the Iraqi market, such as the high proportion of youth particularly those of school age, the high costs of private schools, the inadequacy of educational facilities and the overcrowding of classes.
Despite the challenges, the startups operating in educational technology in Iraq are proving that they are serious about finding new solutions to the problems faced by the government and the people. The hope is that these startups will be able to thrive in the future by being widely adopted.