Posted: 3 years ago

Educational Startup 300tsavleblo With the Aim to Improve Teaching and Learning Quality

300tsavleblo connects a student and teacher with each other and creates a modern experience of learning. CBW had an interview with founders of the startup- Tekla Mugasashvili and Teona Porchkhadze where they discuss challenges in the education field in Georgia: 

What first got you into entrepreneurship and why did you decide to start your company, 300tsavleblo?

If you had asked any of us 2 years ago what a startup is, we probably wouldn't have known. We were all interested in our own profession (design or computer science) and got into the University of Business and Technology. In the very first year we had to go through the introduction of entrepreneurship. At first, many of us were not impressed at all, but I remember the first time we had to generate startup ideas we were all given two pictures and based on those pictures we had to think of something new for the startup. In the process of generating these ideas and also in the subsequent research stage we have discovered how diverse this startup world is. Experienced entrepreneurs came and talked to us in person about their experiences. We attended the hackathons and stayed up all nights. In short we were all individually interested in this field. We are now in our second year and we know that launching a startup is a difficult but exciting and challenging process. You have to adapt to different roles, and as Margalita Aunt says in Sherekilebi "you are a man and a woman", is the same situation here. 

We started 300tsavleblo, because it is very important for us to learn and improve the quality of learning for everyone. Educational startups are few in our country. We too have personally experienced the stage when we are looking for teachers in the exam preparation process and do not know how to find the right one. We wanted to make this process easier for others and also to create a platform that would help disseminate individualized education.

You are based in Tbilisi, Georgia. What is your opinion on the environment for creating a startup company there?

In general, there is a very interesting and active startup environment in Georgia. We, personally, have had contact with two acceleration programs, one Spark and the other Mediadrome. We have already been to Spark and now we are trying our luck in the mediadrome ... Such programs help you to turn ideas into business ideas. BTU University itself supports us with an entrepreneurship center as well as additional activities. We won the BTU Demo Day and we are the 2021 winners.

TBC Startuper also helps startups in this direction, but they have not reached out to our startup yet, although, as far as I know, they help others. And many experienced startups are trying to share their knowledge with startups now through training and outreach.

This help is not limited to shaping business ideas. There are various ways you can get funding. For example, GITA or Ideadrom - where the prize is 10 000 GEL.

What type of learners is using your platform most often?

Today, our platform exists in the form of a Facebook group, however, the development of the website is underway and we will launch it in this format soon. As for the group, students find teachers and vice versa (more children 10-12 grades and young teachers). Schools also make announcements.

What are the biggest challenges or trends you’re addressing in the space right now?

The most pressing problem for us is the pace of development of startups. We also want to fill the team with marketing knowledgeable people to raise awareness.

Any recent student or tutor success stories you’d like to share?

Our group already has over 1000 active users and we have already had various cases where people have found private tutors. For example, yesterday we received a call from Mariam, a graduate student who urgently needed an English teacher to prepare for the exam, she thanks you for the opportunity to have found this teacher.

How do you see your offerings evolving over the next five years?

We want to become the first way to find a teacher in Georgia. When we are well established in the local market, we want to move to and grow in countries where the needs of the individual are not met in terms of education. At the initial stage, we are targeting some post-Soviet countries as well as those countries where studies show a low rate in terms of secondary education.

Broadly speaking, what is the state of education today?

We study today with outdated methods. My grandmother was a geography teacher at 117th School and I have her old, Soviet books and what is written there is a copy-paste in today’s textbooks, plus modernist design. These are 20th century, if not older books. Today is the age of technology, the 21st century. Even in public schools, children are not given elementary skills in this regard. You have difficulty thinking, probably because the focus is on learning by heart. As for me, they made me learn by heart so many poems and small details at school, such as how deep is this or that lake. You can check that in a second where there is Google.The pandemic, again, showed us well what the situation really is. I was teaching English to 4th graders and they told me that no one was involved in the lesson and it was a terrible situation - 30 small children in the same class with 1 teacher. You will hardly find a person who is satisfied with the current education system.

What changes have you seen in digital learning in just the last year or so?

In general, digital education has been foreign to Georgia until now, and the pandemic brought people much closer to technology. However, we met all of this completely unprepared. It was very difficult in public schools, most of the teachers did not have technological skills developed, however, they also had to study and some first steps were taken. The quality did not really stand out as the number of copies increased, there were no control mechanisms, and or there were but they were ineffective. It was especially difficult for the little ones, the elementary school students, because it is difficult for the child to get used to this condition, this format is inconvenient for them, about which the parents talk actively. Personally, it was very convenient for us as IT students, but it was due to our professional background. It would be good if it was possible to continue the elements of distance learning even after a pandemic. There are often posts in our group where they write about online training, which means that steps are being taken in this direction.