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Hitch, other Edtech start-ups selected for Mastercard accelerator

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The Mastercard Foundation Centre for Innovative Teaching and Learning in Information, Communications and Technology (ICT) has announced the first cohort of 12 Edtech fellows that will benefit from its 12-month acceleration programme. Among them is Hitch Nigeria, an educational video platform that provides underserved African schools with curated, high-quality educational content.

According to the Mastercard Foundation, the centre was established in 2018 to spark innovation and promote promising practices in the use of ICT in teaching and learning, and thereby catalyse significant improvement in access, quality and relevance of education.

One of the centre’s objectives is to identify demand-driven edtech innovations that close the gap in education and learning outcomes for the most disadvantaged students, in line with the Mastercard Foundation’s Young Africa Works strategy.

Two of the 12 fellows are from SA: online learning platform Siyavula Education, and mobile teacher-training platform Instill Education. The fellows were selected after an Africa-wide request for proposals in October last year. Innovators were invited to submit proposals that either enhance and increase accessibility and affordability of professional development for in-service teachers, which also minimise their out-of-classroom time; or create and deliver enriched learning content that improves quality, relevance and accessibility to both in-school and out-of-school secondary school learners.

“The announcement of these first fellows at the Centre for Innovative Teaching and Learning is a milestone moment in the work we are carrying out in Africa,” says Peter Materu, chief programme officer at the Mastercard Foundation.

“Bringing together these talented entrepreneurs and supporting them as they innovate to drive excellence in teaching and learning offers new opportunities with great potential to raise the bar in African education and benefit tens of millions of students.”

The companies will receive a package over the next year that includes customised mentorship, financial support, the opportunity to test, validate and scale their business, and a $40 000 grant to aid in the development of their solutions.

“We’re very proud and excited to have this first group of leading African innovators in edtech with us,” says Joseph Nsengimana, head of the Mastercard Foundation Centre for Innovative Teaching and Learning in ICT.

“These companies are working to expand the use of ICT to address some of the most pressing issues facing education in Africa today. We will give them access to the customised mentoring and financial support they need over the next year, so that they can test, refine and validate their products. With that, they can grow their businesses and help to improve learning outcomes throughout Africa.”

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