Changing the culture of memorizing instead of understanding: that’s the main challenge Tahrir Academy sets to tackle. Founded by a team of young Egyptians, the initiative aims to build the biggest Arabic video library to offer young Egyptians character building lessons they cannot find at school.
Launched in February 2012, the platform counts with an outstanding 8.5 million lessons for the 125,000 registered students who watch them online, and is now running at the semi-finals in the upcoming MIT Enterprise Forum Arab Startup Competition. In an interview with BarakaBits, Tahrir Academy’s Learners Program Manager Alyaa Said explains how they are transforming education, one lesson at a time.
How did Tahrir Academy take shape?
Tahrir Academy was founded by a group of young Egyptians who wanted to create impact where it matters most: education. The founding team included professional educators, entrepreneurs and corporate employees who had a vision to empower this generation to become critical thinkers, knowledge seekers and future leaders.
How do you assess the company’s growth?
We have what is called a dual bottom-line of success, which is both impact and financial sustainability. For impact, we measure our growth in terms of two metrics: Learning Satisfaction Index, which is a set of numerical measures that calculates learners’ views, shareability, retention and other important interactivity measures; and Critical Thinking Index: measuring the learners performed critical thinking behaviors on the platform and during learning, such as the ability to ask substantive questions, seek more knowledge, and engage in constructive debates. As far as financial sustainability is concerned, we evaluate our growth in terms of Cost Per Minute Published (CPMP), Cost Per Minute Watched (CPMW) and of course revenue and surplus. We have seen substantial growth across all metrics during the past three years. For example, we have seen our learner satisfaction index results grow from 65% to 95% towards the end of 2014.
What’s your biggest achievement?
Having more than 125,000 registered students who took more than 8.5 million lessons to date, and achieving the highest viewership per content in the region, with more than 10,000 views per video. Having students who are able to think and understand, students who have critical thinking skills, students who seek knowledge.
What are your expectations about participating in the MIT Forum competition?
Learning firsthand insights about the social entrepreneurship scene in the region as well as best practices from trainers, advisors and judges. We are also interested in the exposure and network the competition brings.
Follow the MIT Competition on Twitter at @MITEFarab