Egypt Picks NetDragon’s Edmodo for Nationwide Remote Learning in Response to Coronavirus
By Henry Kronk
March 23, 2020
Edmodo is getting 23+ million new users. On March 19, the Arab Republic of Egypt announced it had contracted with the online learning provider to deliver remote instruction to the country’s entire K-12 student body.
Edmodo is owned by the Chinese gaming and edtech company NetDragon.
Egypt Picks Edmodo, NetDragon for National Online Learning
The rollout for this delivery has already begun. Following the outbreak of COVID-19, the Egyptian government took wide-ranging steps to fight its spread. Schools and universities have been closed temporarily and all of the country’s students are doing their best to learn from home. In all, the K-12 system includes more than 22 million students and one million teachers.
The Edmodo platform has wide-ranging capabilities. It can be used to host and share educational content, communicate via message or videoconference, and deliver quizzes and assessments. It also has social network features, and teachers can connect with other instructors around the world to share knowledge and resources.
“The unprecedented times that we have found ourselves in means that all governments around the world need to find innovative solutions to ensure the continued education of all learners,” said Minister of Education Dr. Tarek Shawki, in a statement. “In Egypt we have been investing in our digital learning strategy for three years as part of our educational reform project. We find ourselves well positioned to be able to support distance learning, and the rapid implementation of Edmodo as the platform, to ensure that teachers, students and parents can collaborate and learn during this period.”
The deal between Egypt and NetDragon was facilitated by Innovera, the latter’s regional partner. Innovera will handle Edmodo deployment and teacher training on the platform.
NetDragon has, in the past, facilitated country-wide edtech solutions. The company signed a deal with Nigeria in 2018 to develop three white label learning platforms for the country’s education system, and also provide access to their exisiting holdings, such as Promethean Interactive and Edmodo.
Edmodo Is One of the Most Widely-Used Education Platforms Around the World
Launched in 2008, Edmodo quickly gained users, in large part, because it was highly popular with teachers. It was described as ‘the Facebook of Education’ before that became a bad thing and took in over $77 million in VC funding over four rounds.
But like Facebook (in its early years) the company struggled to monetize, despite a surging user base. In 2018, NetDragon acquired the company for $137.5 million. Their $30 million Series D, raised in 2014, had valued the company at $236 million, and the deal was a windfall for NetDragon.
But so far, NetDragon has also struggled to monetize Edmodo. In their 2019 interim report, published on September 26, the company announced losses in their edtech segment of RMB 308.9 million (roughly $43 million USD). It represented a 94.7% year-over-year loss and was attributed primarily to the “consolidation of Edmodo.”
The company, however, has sought to transition Edmodo into a SaaS business model and has begun to offer tutoring services via the company’s AskMo offering.
The recent deal with Egypt marks one of the company’s first significant Edmodo rollouts with its new business strategy.
Featured Image: Zack Ho.