GABON • It all started when Mr Edouard Claude Oussou witnessed an unsettling incident in Libreville, the country's capital.
A child, who was dropped off at school, waited a few minutes until his parent was out of sight, then took off in the opposite direction. This fairly common scene illustrates a wider problem in Gabon's educational system, which has the highest grade repetition rate in the world, says 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 - parents, principals, teachers or administrators - to follow each pupil's activity in real time on a daily basis.
The principal can monitor pupils and teachers, and communicate with them online. Teachers can manage and track lessons, assessments, grades and pupils' behaviour. SMS alerts can be sent to parents to warn them that their child is absent from class, or an examination is coming up.
The app also helps pupils to stay motivated at school through new learning techniques and concepts. It includes modules on personal development, leadership and self-confidence.
One of the major challenges Mr Oussou faced was how to make the app accessible to all, while finding a way to pay for it.
"We ask partner institutions to increase monthly school fees by 3,000 CFA francs (S$7) per student. This charge is then shared between the institution and the Scientia project," he said.
He is still waiting for authorisation from the education ministry for the system to be used in state schools.