Beyond the movies, the hospitality, the humor, the protests, the history, you find something that every Egyptian simply gets used to–traffic. At the nexus of overpopulation and a weak infrastructure emerges inefficiency. Thinking about infrastructure in the context of school systems, we realize that schools are more than just teachers and students. To run smoothly they need countless resources, upkeep, processes and people. With so many moving parts at play, inefficiencies are bound to emerge.
Enter IntaFeen – the Arabic phrase for Where Are you? I’m sure most of you have taken note of the latest ‘check-in’ fad on Facebook. By grazing your minifeed, you can easily take note of where your co-workers are for lunch (and potentially crash the party) or which of your friends is attending the latest ISTE conference. With apps such as FourSquare continuing to gain popularity in the States, six Egyptian men, straight from the heart of the Silicon Valley have opted to return to their roots and introduce the Land of the Pharaohs to ‘check-in’ culture.
Allow me to highlight what a tool like IntaFeen can do for school districts in Egypt (and other societies challenged by education infrastructure inefficiencies). Imagine a school that integrates the IntaFeen technology into their administration system. A teacher running late on the day of an exam can instantly ‘check-in,’ giving administration an estimated time of arrival. More often than not, exams are canceled due to teachers getting caught off guard by unbearable traffic. The school’s administration could then designate another teacher to administer the exam or predetermine an alternative plan of action.
Such a system could ensure timely delivery of textbooks or even simply, just make sure that students come to school. Many times, students in impoverished areas have to sacrifice school time to help their families in earning a living. A ‘check-in’ system could be implemented with built-in incentives that encourage children to stay in school while at the same time helping families make ends meet. For example, for every one-hundred days that a child comes to school and virtually ‘checks-in,’ his or her family could be awarded a prize.
Recently mPowering, a nonprofit organization that seeks to empower individuals to climb out of poverty, has caught on to this idea. By awarding students and their families food and medical incentives for “perform[ing] poverty defeating actions like going to school,” the organization instills a sense of motivation amongst students. IntaFeen would be an excellent addition to such a program, as it would ensure accurate and honest appraisals of who actually made it to class.
With data plans starting to become more affordable in Egypt, a subsidized mobile technology plan could help offset some of the costs associated with such a system. The potential of IntaFeen goes beyond socializing; it has the power to alleviate some of Egypt’s most draining social concerns.
Keep Calm and Learn On,
Image Available Under CC Licensure by avlxyz