Edemy Makes Quality English Classes Accessible and Affordable for Rural Students

Tags: ,

អត្ថបទ​នេះមានជាភាសា៖ kmខ្មែរ

Socheata

By Socheata VINH

Communications Assistant
Development Innovations


“When we started conducting workshops about applying for scholarships from the provinces, we found out that students in remote areas lacked the English skills that are key to winning these scholarships,” describes Sovann Srun, co-founder of Edemy, a startup working to provide high quality English teaching resources for Cambodians. Srun also found that many students in rural areas do not have access to high quality and affordable English classes, meanwhile around 80% of the universities in Cambodia provide courses both in English and Khmer. Therefore, many rural students find it hard to be prepared for universities in Cambodia, or to get the English skills they need to compete for a scholarship for study abroad.

Building upon their core value of providing equal access to quality education, Edemy designed a learning software and curriculum for English classes as an affordable after-class program. Since the target is students from primary to high school in the rural areas, many online platforms do not work because of low internet accessibility. Edemy’s innovation doesn’t require internet access, and uses a system based around a low-cost mini-computer, called a Raspberry Pi, to store the curriculum, and a wireless router that transmits information between the mini-computer and tablets. Once connected to the system, students use the tablets to watch videos that teach lessons, assign exercises, and show instant practice results. The next day, students engage in practice with a teacher to reinforce learning and interact with their classmates.

 

The content of the instructional videos in the software was developed by Kagnarith Chea, co-founder of Edemy, who obtained a master’s degree in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) at Arizona State University in the United States through the highly respected Fulbright scholarship program. Edemy students have given the program good reviews, remarking that studying on tablets independently has improved their concentration in studying. According to Edemy’s pilot study with 200 students, the program can help students to improve test scores by at least 10% after attending classes for three months. In addition to this, the tuition fee is lower than other local English language education options.

 

Each student has a personal profile in the software which records the student’s attendance, quiz scores, and time spent watching videos. By accessing the data of the students, teacher can keep track of the students’ performances, identify the strengths and weaknesses of the students and provide additional coaching accordingly. Moreover, the teacher can match a good student to help a weak student.

Despite their successes within the classroom, Edemy’s team finds challenges in how they explain and communicate their concept. This is where the EPIC Incubator program, run by Impact Hub Phnom Penh and supported by USAID’s Development Innovations, stepped in.  EPIC is a one-year entrepreneurship support program run by Impact Hub Phnom Penh to provide resources, funding and training for aspiring social start-up developers.  Edemy was selected from 48 applicants as one of the 11 teams to receive mentorship, support and monitoring from established social entrepreneurs and innovators within Cambodia with a view to improve their own business and operations. Through EPIC, Edemy was also connected to a larger network and resources for their project. The team learned more about communicating their work to potential partners or customers.

This past February, Edemy was selected as one of five EPIC Ventures to proceed into Phase 2 of the EPIC program, where they received additional guidance to support their acceleration with $20,000 worth of startup support.

Currently, Edemy provides the service to more than 100 students, in Prey Veng and Kampong Cham provinces, who receive scholarship and stipends from The Asia Foundation. The team is rolling out to reach Siem Reap early next year, with a target of serving 410 students. In the meantime, Edemy is working to refine and finalize their curriculum. As a team of six, they have limited capacity to respond to the high demand for English teaching in Cambodia. Edemy plans to work with partner schools and organizations to run this after-class English program locally, after receiving the equipment and training from the Edemy team.

Share this post...
Share on Facebook0Tweet about this on Twitter0Share on Google+0Email this to someone