In the Arab world, including Egypt, many students at both public and private schools pay teachers extras for after-class private tutoring services because usually the level of teaching is low at schools.
The state-run Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS) said in a 2010/11 report that Egyptian families spend 4.6 percent of their annual income on education despite high poverty rates. The same CAPMAS study indicated that 42 percent of the families’ expenses go to private tutoring.
Tyro, is a new Egyptian online platform that is attempting to give students access to quality education by connecting them to professional instructors at reasonable prices.
The startup seeks to improve the business in Egypt by allowing students to find and hire tutors who can improve their academic performance through online sessions.
“We launched Tyro because it gives students a personalized learning experience with qualified instructors which is something close to being non-existent in the schooling system here in Egypt, ” Mokhtar Ayman, Tyro’s cofounder told Wamda. “We also want to provide an adequate source of income for skilled and qualified individuals who enjoy teaching what they’re good at.”
Ayman, 23, has a bachelor’s degree in marketing and international business from MSA University and has passed a strategic management course in the UK. His cofounder, Farouk Hosni, 22, is still a student at MSA University and has six years of experience in UX/UI design.
The young entrepreneurs launched their startup with 50,000 Egyptian pounds (US$ 2,800) they collected themselves, in addition to 190,000 pounds ($10,500) they got through non-profit and educational organizations, which included a $1,600 from INJAZ, an NGO that empowers young people to own their economic success.
Through Tyro’s website, students can choose from a list of tutors and schedule sessions with them according to the subject they want. Providing a rate of 75 to 200 pounds ($4 - $11) per hour according to the qualifications of the instructors, Tyro gives students the opportunity to have online audio/video tutoring on a variety of subjects, including languages, business, computer science and programming. It also provides online preparation sessions for international language assessments, including IETLTS, TOEFL, CFA and SAT. The qualifications, certification, availability and reviews of the instructors are available on the platform as well. The teacher gets 80 percent of the cost of every hour of tutoring, whereas the platform takes a 20 percent commission on every session.
Tyro has now 40 teachers, and 300 students signups. “The business is profitable, but it takes time to reap those profits,” Ayman said, explaining that they expect to start making profits within a year or two.
Ayman added that Tyro has managed to close this month its first round of investment from a Dubai-based investor specializing in corporate consulting. The investment value was undisclosed.
Testing the tutors
Tyro operates a strict application and assessment strategy where applicants undergo a three-phase process.
“We first review the skills and the experience that the applying instructor has and then we ask him or her to send us the documents that verify such experience. Finally, the instructor gives a trial session which is recorded online and then sent to an expert in the field. The expert assesses the performance of the applicant and gives the final say on hiring him or her,” Ayman says.
The startup founders are planning to introduce a B2B model which offers online training programs for employees at corporates instead of the classic offline courses. “Such an approach would be cheaper and faster to arrange for those international companies,” Ayman said. He explained that online training will be 50 percent cheaper than offline training. But they are still studying how much online training package would cost corporates.
The young entrepreneur adds that they also aim to expand into the Gulf region and give online tutoring sessions to students in the GCC region.
Iman Essam Eldeen, one of Tyro’s instructors who teaches English language and gives preparation sessions for TOEFL, IETLS and TEFL, said that the online platform gives her the privilege of working from home and at the same time learning and developing her skills. She told Wamda: “I love the idea of flexibility at work as I would always have time to study and develop myself more.” She added: “The startup gives a chance to people to try new concepts such as online learning but in an organized way.”
Tyro is not the only startup in Egypt and the Arab world that offers online education sessions for students seeking private tutoring. Several startups in the UAE, the KSA, and Jordan among other countries, have emerged to regulate the business and offer students easier and more comfortable access to high-quality education.
Feature image via Pixabay.