- Kuwait-based edtech Dawrat has announced its expansion to Saudi Arabia.
- Dawrat, founded by Mohamed Al Srayea and Yousef Bonashi in 2011, delivers more than 10,000 courses in Arabic for its users across Mena.
- The startup raised an undisclosed round back in March from SBX and angel investor Farah Al Humaidhi.
The Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region remains a big market for education technology (edtech). According to a report by Report Linker, a global market research firm, the overall value of the edtech market in Mena is forecast to be worth $7 billion by 2027. However, when compared to other sectors, the edtech space remains largely untapped. In terms of funding, most edtech deals in the region are happening at the early stage level, with scaling one of the biggest challenges facing edtechs in the region. In November, Jordan-based online learning platform Abwaab raised $13 million, the largest round raised by an edtech company in Mena this year.
While the Covid-19 crisis has been a strong propeller of the edtech market in Mena, the continuous need for educational solutions that could help plug the existing gap in learning and knowledge attainment remains the key driver of growth for the edtech market in the region, especially when it comes to technical and digital skills development.
“The mindset of young people here in Kuwait and the rest of the region has been changed. Most of them have been looking to tap into the startup industry and to start to create their own businesses, which requires a lot of skills to develop," said Mohammad Al Suraya, co-founder of Dawrat, a Kuwait-headquartered online learning platform Dawrat.
Founded by Al Srayea and Yousef Bonashi in 2011, Dawrat aims to capitalise on the growing need for a skilled workforce in the Mena region especially in light of the rising interest among young people in entrepreneurship. The startup offers more than 10,000 courses in Arabic for users across Mena, and recently announced its expansion to the KSA market on the back of an undisclosed round raised back in March.
"Every country in the GCC now has its own development strategy, including KSA, so there's a need for skilled laborers to support these strategies. Saudi has the fastest execution plan. So it definitely makes sense to expand there," he said.
Another challenge facing edtechs is the belief that traditional learning methods are superior to online learning.
“The lack of recognition and accreditation for online learning is the main challenge that we are facing in the region. Unlike in the US and Europe, where online learning became more recognised and known years ago, the governments here are not looking at online learning as a learning support mechanism rather than a product or professional education method,” Al Suraya explained.