It all started when Edouard Claude Oussou witnessed an unsettling incident in Libreville, the capital of Gabon. A child was dropped off at school, waited a few minutes until his parent was far enough away, then took off in the opposite direction from his class. This fairly common scene illustrates a wider problem faced by Gabon's educational system, which has the highest grade repetition rate in the world, according to the World Bank. It led the 35-year-old Gabonese entrepreneur to create Scientia, a mobile app that aims to encourage better academic performance.
The app enables its users—whether parents, principals, teachers or administrators—to follow each pupil's activity in real time on a daily basis. The school principal can monitor his or her students and teachers and communicate with them online. Teachers can manage and track lessons, assessments, grades and students' behaviour. SMS alerts can be sent out to parents to warn them that their child is absent from a lesson, that there is an exam coming up, or that their child has been disciplined.
It's an innovative approach that gained recognition at the EU-Africa Business Forum (EABF), organised ahead of the African Union-European Union Summit held in November 2017 in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire.