Ethiopian edtech startup Kuraz Technologies Plc launched its online learning platform in September 2022 offering diverse courses in local languages.
Established in 2020 with the goal of providing information and communication technologies to the education sector, Kuraz releases its educational content in video formats.
The startup was founded with an initial capital of 2.1 million birr by Biruk Mamo, Biruk Fekade, and Bisrategebriel Fisseha. The co-founders scaled a virtual lecture program called Kuraz Engocha, which was previously conducted for free on telegram and a website. Kuraz Engocha gave courses on digital marketing, graphics, and web development.
“Almost all of the courses given online are in a foreign language. There is a lack of local content produced in the country, and a person who has no background in technology finds it hard to enter into the tech sector,” Biruk Mamo told Shega.
Currently, the majority of the content on the Kuraz is in Amharic language; after two months, this same content will be available in Affan Oromo and Tigrigna languages.
Kuraz offers courses ranging from high school to university level, as well as skill-oriented and personal development classes. For a limited time of two months, Kuraztech can be accessed at a 100pc discount. When the special offer expires, the content will be premium and available only via purchase.
Additional Income for Instructors
Kuraz, which has additional six shareholders besides the three co-founders, also opens an opportunity for professionals to earn passive income, enabling content creators to host their courses on the platform and get paid whenever students enroll in their classes or courses.
Kuraz has 32 courses and 15 instructors for now. Instructors from Addis Ababa University and Addis Ababa Science and Technology University, as well as professionals in the field of engineering and design, took part in developing the current courses.
Kuraz pays its instructors in two ways. In the first one, Kuraz pays the instructors at an hourly rate with an initial payment of 700–1200 birr for an hour of content. One hour of content is broken down into four videos. The length of the videos ranges from 5 to 15 minutes.
The initial payment is to cover the cost and to make sure the instructors don’t take the risk if the courses don’t sell out. After production, the instructors get 10–25 percent on every sale of their course.
The second model is for instructors who take the risk of not receiving the initial payment. These instructors receive 35-40% of the sales they generate.
Kuraz helps the lecturers with recording and editing. For courses that require the lecturer’s presence in the videos, Kuraz does the video recording and editing.
In the past few years, online learning has drastically evolved and changed the face of modern education, allowing students to study some topics of interest wholly online and remotely. They’re typically geared at adults who have already finished their traditional schooling, and while some will offer full certificate or even degree programs, most focus on teaching individual courses.
Coursera, Udacity, Uplatz, Simplilearn, Khan Academy, Udemy, Skillshare, and EdX are some of the most renowned online platforms globally. Meanwhile, I-tutor, EthioStudy, GxCamp, and Gebeya are some of the Edtech companies that work on online learning in Ethiopia.
According to Biruk, Co-Founder of Kuraz, “Even if someone could afford to buy courses from websites abroad, there is no mechanism to pay for it in birr.”
He adds that the courses given in person are also unaffordable. Kuraz believes its platform will solve the challenges of accessibility and affordability.
“Programming or graphic design courses given in Ethiopia are also very expensive. Due to the lack of professionals, they are not given often. And even if they are available, they are not cheap. The goal is to make classes on Kuraz accessible at an affordable price, “says Biruk.
Users can purchase a full Kuraz course for 200–300 birr, while a tutor on the marketplace charges a starting rate of 150 birr per hour. Kuraz has integrated multiple payment gateways, including Telebirr, Chapa, and PayPal. It also receives payments from direct bank deposits.
Undergraduate Kuraz Classes
For university students, Kuraz offers courses under five categories.
“Students at advanced universities often get better and more experienced instructors than those at recently opened universities; Kuraz is here to be used as a supplementary and alternative tool,” adds Biruk.
The courses concentrate on engineering and skills and technical areas for the time being. Kuraz aims to increase the category to ten in the next two months.
The courses have a quiz at the end of each chapter to ensure the students understand the course. Kuraz issues certificates after the completion of courses to students. Employers or any other interested party can check the certificate’s validity on Kuraz using the ID. However, they don’t have the same status as certificates issued by conventional institutions.
Kuraz has 456 registered students since the day of the launch of the website. The major student base of Kuraz comprises university students who add additional courses and seek career shifts.
The upcoming Kuraz application also has a book publishing feature to allow writers to publish their work. It offers a secured e-book platform that enables users to browse, buy, and read e-books, newspapers, magazines, and other digital media.