Focus on a startup in Edtech in Mauritius – Meeting with Francois Mark

Tell us about yourself and AfriEDX?

AfriEDX was born following a grant from the American Embassy in 2017. AfriEDX is a private company whose objective is to leverage immersive technologies such as Virtual Reality for pedagogical purposes in the formal education sector. I am the director of the company.

What are the education challenges identified by AfriEDX?

According to the UNESCO report, one in five children, adolescents and youth is a school drop-out. A great number of children have serious learning difficulties using traditional school textbooks and methods. Some students do not have the opportunity to see the world in order to expand their knowledge for many reasons, especially those living in remote rural areas. Another major challenge remains the non-availability of up-to-date contents for a particular curriculum. Technology is evolving fast, it is hard for schools to keep up with the latest techniques and tools.

What are you doing to solve this problem?

We organise awareness workshops and training in order to bring together more people involved in the productions of VR contents.

Why virtual reality in education?

All humans are naturally gifted visual learners. Virtual Reality (VR) can contribute to enhance learning and make it more:

• Accessible
• Engaging
• Scalable
• Dynamic

Is it expensive to implement virtual reality in education?

We use Google Cardboard as VR headsets as it is the most accessible on the market for students to have their first educational contents.

Why now?

Immersive technologies are becoming more and more accessible for creators of immersive contents and consumers alike.

How do you see the evolution of virtual reality (VR) in Mauritius and Africa in the coming years?

Virtual Reality will be used in a wide rage a fields beyond school boundaries such as in medicine, entertainment, trade and much more.