Most business is about matching demand with supply.
From her work as a Venture Capitalist talking to businesses about what would help them grow, Audrey found that resoundingly the answer was “tech talent”.
Investigating the options available to students wanting to learn these skills, she found they were sub par.
Moringa School is addressing the need by providing world class education in how to build apps at an affordable cost.
We discuss the innovative teaching methodologies that they adopt, ways of breaching the skills gap in Kenya, and prospects for taking these vocational based higher education alternatives across the continent and into different skills.
Our interview was on the balcony outside of their office and so it gets a little windy at times, but either way, I hope you enjoy.
Here are some of the key quotes:
“We have a 95% job placement rate”
Graduates from our school go into working on coding jobs across the continent.
“There’s huge demand”
Growing companies are all looking for talent, however it just wasn’t around. Audrey looked into how computer science education could be improved and started Moringa.
“We use a ‘flip classroom’ model”
Students are put in charge of what they need to know. We also use other group learning techniques based on neurological insights to give the best possible learning experience.
“Our students come from various sources”
Some from High School. Some from college. Some on a career break. A lot are seeing it as a good investment in order to then get a job.
“It’s extremely affordable”
The same price as a semester at a traditional college (around $350)
“We work backwards from the skills employers want”
This means that it becomes easy for people to slot into tech teams at the companies, as they have learnt all of the relevant skills to hit the ground running.
“The program is different to the US/ Europe”
Critical thinking isn’t taught in schools, which is much more based on regurgitation. Moringa teaches creative thinking through introducing mental frameworks for how to approach problems.
“Interview skills are also taught”
Such as communication, feedback and basically instilling confidence that people can prosper in the workplace.
“Self teaching is good, but not great”
Most developers who are working already taught themselves from the internet. This means they are susceptible to picking up bad practices.
“The Moringa course comes from the US”
We partner with a couple of courses which are highly rated internationally, and then adapt the content accordingly at Moringa.
“We make money through school fees”
This is our primary revenue stream. In time we might look to expand this out in other ways, such as getting people from the UK/ US to learn to code in Kenya and see the tech scene there.
“It’s beyond coding”
The trend that we’re seeing from the World Economic Forum and other industry experts is how to make higher education more linked to relevant employment skills and not just a piece of paper.
“West Africa is next”
In 3 years we want to have a presence in another location, and also be offering lessons in another type of skill.
“Moringa is a herb”
It’s like a superfood. We view what we do as medicine for the pain in society (education)
“There was some resistance”
Mainly from parents who were wondering whether this was a good investment for their kids. Now we’re beginning to prove the value of the education, it’s getting easier.
“We want to build a hacker house”
Right now people are coming from different countries/ cities, finding accommodation and then coming to school. We eventually want to build a dormitory/ community around working and living together.
“Some people see schools as a good business”
And so the government are wanting to keep checks that Moringa are acting properly. Having a Board member who was the ex-ICT Minister for the Kenyan government helps.
“We’re going to raise money!”
In early 2017 I’m off to the US and Europe to get our first bit of outside investment into the company. We’re wanting to meet the demand which raising investment can facilitate.
Social Media Follows etc.
Epicodus: programming programme
Hack Reactor: coding bootcamp
First Round Capital: Audrey’s ideal investor
Twitter: Moringa School