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Pakistan: educational app eyes 1m users

An educational app initially designed to reach refugee and underprivileged children in Pakistan is expected to reach nearly 1 million children across the country by the end of 2020.

The Orenda team. Photo: Orenda

In the long term, Orenda aims at expand the curriculum up to year 12 and reach six million children

Called Taleemabad, the app is available on mobile and computer and offers access to parts of the primary school curriculum (for example English, Urdu and Maths) through a dedicated cartoon series.

“This will enable us to target the province, especially the areas that have suffered due to terrorism”

The name of the app, meaning ‘Education City’ in Urdu, is a reference to where the co-founders developed the idea for the edtech start-up Orenda, which developed the app: Georgetown University in Qatar, based in the Education City in Doha.

Orenda co-founder Haroon Yasin, who was also recognised as one of the Queen’s Young Leaders in 2018, told The PIE that the app is at present reaching a total of 106,000 users across the country, also in rural parts of Pakistan.

“The biggest achievements of the app are its reach and the fact that it represents a wider vision of sustainability,” he explained.

Over the next couple of years, he added, Orenda is planning to complete the K-5 curriculum offering, which will propel user numbers closer to the 1m mark.

“Students here take the first state examination after the 5th grade and once we have completed a spectrum of content that can teach students towards that exam, we expect our downloads to have neared the 1 million mark, with 20,000 users paying for the premium features,” he added.

The team is also close to signing a partnership with the government of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, whose support will enable Taleemabad to expand its reach – and its curriculum in the Pashto language.

“There is currently no Pashto language learning platform and developing this will enable us to target the province, especially the areas that have suffered due to terrorism,” Yasin said.

“It will also allow us to target users in neighbouring Afghanistan, which has similarly lagged behind in educational outcomes because of conflict.”

In the long term, Orenda aims to expand the curriculum up to year 12 and reach six million children, Yasin said, perfecting content for varying ability level.

The edtech company is also aiming to widen its geographical reach beyond Pakistan, looking at Afghanistan, India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

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