Edkasa, a fast-growing education technology startup co-founded by Fulbright alum Annum Sadiq, aims to solve what is arguably the country’s biggest problem: access to quality education. With a user base of 55,000 students already, over one million hours of recorded viewing time, more than 250,000 answered student queries in just 2020, and a whopping USD 320,000 raised in a pre-seed round for the mobile app, it seems to be well on its way to becoming Pakistan’s biggest exam preparation platform.
According to Sadiq, who went to Carnegie Mellon University in 2014 on a Fulbright scholarship and founded Edkasa in 2017 with Harvard alum Fahad Tanveer, more than forty percent of students fail in their secondary board exams. Edkasa aims to help these students get top marks in their Matric and Intermediate board exams and lead them towards gainful employment. The company relies on mobile broadband technology to offer online remedial classes for standardized exam preparation.
Making us proud
Sadiq applied for the Fulbright scholarship with the intention of learning about the best practices in education management and how to understand them in the context of Pakistan. She chose her coursework carefully and also got the opportunity to intern with Education Pioneers on a project with the Chelsea Public School district near Boston.
“I built an online learning platform for their schools that was geared towards training teachers at a lower cost and on scale. This experience gave me the insight and confidence I needed to start Edkasa and I am humbled by the opportunities, such as the Fulbright scholarship, that have enabled me to be on this path,” she says.
“What started out as a YouTube channel in 2019 is now a full grown ed-tech startup, focused on eliminating academic barriers related to geography, income and gender that a lot of students face. Edkasa received an overwhelming response from its students, receiving more than 80,000 installs within just a month of its launch. We are constantly learning and evolving and with a growing team of 20+ passionate individuals,” adds Sadiq.
According to the Pakistani Telecommunication Authority, there has been a 15% increase in internet usage during the pandemic. With the closure of schools and a distinct shift to online learning, initiatives like Edkasa have become the need of the hour. To help students at a time colored with uncertainty about exam dates, school schedules, and a dip in motivation levels, Team Edkasa has ramped up efforts.
“To reduce the learning losses students were facing due to school closure, Edkasa augmented its already existing library of lecture videos and added an additional 5,000 lecture videos and 20,000 practice questions along with creating an app specifically designed and cocreated with students keeping their needs in mind,” explains Sadiq.
And it seems like there is no stopping Team Edkasa. So far, they have created content for science subjects, but a lot more subjects and grade levels are in the pipeline. Their aim is to reach not thousands but millions of students who are struggling to get the grades they need to achieve their academic and professional goals.
“I firmly believe that education is the biggest bridge between the world that we have and the world that we want,” Sadiq reflects. “In this regard, Edkasa is my dream coming to fruition.”