For most people, the path towards higher education in Nigeria is rather straightforward: get some form of secondary-level education within the four walls of a school, which prepares you for the certification examinations that allow entrance into the university or other tertiary institutions.
But what happens to those who are, for lack of fortune or some other reason, unable to follow that path? Such people are often disenfranchised from attaining the heights of education available and have to play with the cards life has dealt them. Thankfully, technology is slowly solving the problem. And the latest instance of that comes in form of Sadiq, a former down-on-his-luck gatekeeper who is now on his way to becoming a degree-holding computer scientist.
After he was forced to suspend his schooling, Sadiq left his homeland of Borno State in 2017 and came down to Lagos in search of livelihood. He got a job as a gatekeeper in a complex. According to the story narrated by Tunji Adegbesan, Founder and CEO of Gidi Mobile Limited [the company that created the Gidimo app], he (Sadiq) became friends with the employees of the company next to the building where he worked. From his conversations with them, he found out about their invention called Gidimo, a mobile learning and personal growth platform.
He decided to make use of the application to complete his secondary school syllabus, an opportunity he had lost when his schooling ended back in Borno. He was doing this while holding on to his work as a gatekeeper. The executives at Gidimo found out what he was doing and, in a bid to support him, gave him a free subscription to the platform.
A short while later, he gained enough knowledge to boost his confidence. He went ahead to apply for university education and he subsequently gained admission into Borno State University to study Computer Science. His good fortunes did not end there. Gidi Mobile also offered to pay his school fees throughout his stay as long as he maintained good grades.
Commenting on what happened, Adegbesan said, “Few times has [the Gidimo app] made me feel so proud and sober at the same time. How precarious this life is. How slim the gap between staying up and going down. We need to be thankful every day.
Founded in 2012, Gidi Mobile is one of Africa’s foremost edtech platforms. In 2017, it was backed by Google with funding worth $1 million. The Gidimo app offers studies in 14 subjects covering up to 492 topics and 53,300 questions based on the official syllabus of the West African Examination Council [WAEC]. As of April 2020, the app had amassed a user base of 250,000 over the past three years.