The Tahrir Academy was an online learning platform from Egypt. Founded in 2012, the NGO was a product of the heady atmosphere in the wake of the Egyptian Revolution. The seed funding came from Wael Ghomin, one of the most well-known protagonists of the revolution, who provided the profits from his book Revolution 2.0. - The Power of the People is Greater than the People in Power. The goal of the academy was to reform the dysfunctional Egyptian education system: in an educational study by the World Economic Forum, the country occupied place 145 of 148, with 40% of the population found to be illiterate.
Via its own website, a YouTube channel and several apps, the academy offered 700 video courses (as of April 2015). The users numbers are plain to see: Over 120,000 pupils between 13-18 had registered and studied for over 15 million minutes online. The Tahrir Academy also had developed its own success index, the Learner Satisfaction Index, in which likes, session duration and feedback and frequency of interaction were entered.
But just distributing content online was not enough for the makers of Tahrir Academy. Few pupils are interested in training that they can find on the internet themselves. Instead, the academy was preparing an offer of blended learning: the online tutorials (partially self-produced, partially sourced from the Khan Academy and other providers) were supplemented by tests, discussion forums and text documents. Pupils were kept interested by gamification elements – for successfully-completed tasks, there were points that allowed them to compete with one another.
Moreover, the academy had also developed an offline component: on the website there was a toolbox that teachers, parents, NGOs, or interested older students could download and use for classroom training. “Currently, we expend a lot of energy to teach the community how these materials can best be used to achieve optimal learning outcomes,” Business Development manager Alyaa Said reported. “This mixture of online and offline is what makes our offer special.”
Alongside the seed funding, Tahrir Academy financed itself through fees that third-party providers (such as the Khan Academy) paid to be present in the Arabic-speaking world. Several international and national companies also sponsored the NGO.
We discovered this case through our Lab Around the World research trip. In August 2015, Tahrir Academy announced that they unfortunately had to suspend their activity due to a lack of financial resources.