Mike Kipkorir Bill
Mike Kipkorir Bill is an ICT in Education consultant in Kenya with vast experience developing and implementing innovations in education. Mike has a Bsc. Mathematics & Computer Science from the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture & Technology (JKUAT), a post graduate diploma in e-Learning & Digital Didactics from the Catholic University Limburg (Belgium) and he is currently enrolled in an MBA programme at the Kenyatta University (Kenya).
Mike’s journey into co-creating Elewa started with his frustrations with how education was conducted while he was in school. He felt that the system of education did not allow him to explore his full potential and there was so much focus on passing the national exams at the expense of all else. This trend continued in university and it is there that he decided to do something about it.
After university (2008), Mike founded a web design company and through the company started working on e-Learning systems for clients. He introduced several innovations into the delivery of content and the structuring of lessons and the e-Learning platforms proved a success for his clients. He also got a job as a part-time teacher at the Kenya Institute of Mass Communication where he taught upcoming journalists how to use the internet to obtain information and to package it as news. He also imprinted his ideas of how students should be taught, focusing on learning outcomes as opposed to merely passing an exam.
Towards the end of 2009, these successes led Mike to be identified by VVOB, a Belgian development cooperation agency, that was working with the Ministry of Education in Kenya to improve the quality and delivery of education with the help of ICTs. With VVOB, he worked directly at the Ministry of Education headquarters, interacting with the country’s decision makers and training them on how ICT can be used to improve the quality and delivery of education.
The culmination of the VVOB assignment was a two-year research into how to introduce ICTs for education to schools and teachers who have never had any prior experience. The research enabled Mike to freely explore ways in which education could be transformed using currently available resources. The research was conducted in collaboration with Gent University (Belgium), VUB (Belgium) and University of British Columbia (Canada).
After VVOB left Kenya in 2013, Mike continued with his consultancies, helping several organisations and development agencies design interventions for education. He also got back in touch with Jente Rosseel, whom he had met during his VVOB days and they were able to align their interests and bring together efforts to create the company Elewa.
The two have an unstoppable desire to make a transformation in the way education is delivered in Kenya. The country has so much potential and it’s human resource is its greatest asset and needs to be developed correctly.
Jente Rosseel is a Belgian final year student in Applied Sciences and Engineering: Computer Science at the VUB (Vrije Universiteit Brussel). His journey into EdTech started in 2012, when he did an internship for the Kenyan Ministry of Education. During the internship, he was tasked with the implementation and partly the design of a School Information Management System. The system would be used to allow the ministry to easily follow up on schools. The internship was managed by VVOB. A Belgian NGO with a similar goal as Elewa, to improve the quality of education.
In 2013, Jente graduated with great honours in Applied Informatics. He worked a year as a software engineering consultant in the financial sector. In July 2014, Jente grew weary of the financial sector. He was on the lookout for a job with more meaning and impact. He quit his job, started a web development company in Belgium and went back to school to study for a master in Civil Engineering, Computer Science. On the lookout for jobs, he got back in contact with Mike.
The two started to work on some projects, in which Jente managed the technical side, and Mike the business/marketing side. Jente took on interns which he trained to get them up to speed with the latest development techniques. It was during these trainings he started to notice the parrot syndrome (see section 2.1) and the major shortcomings in the Kenyan educational system.
In the beginning of 2015, he and Mike started to work on Elewa 1.0. Which went live in September 2015. The implementation of the technical side of the project was almost completely done by Jente, with some help of an intern. Since the beginning of 2016, Jente has been working on Elewa 2. Up to this point still in combination with school and his web development business. As he is finishing with school, his biggest focus is currently on Elewa 2.0. Which is also the subject of his Master’s thesis.
At first, Jente’s role in the company was primarily focussed on the technical and financial side of things. However, over the last two years, Jente evolved his business, speaking and management capabilities and now helps out with strategy on all fronts. He is driven by his passion to change the world for the better, and his mission to make a positive and measurable impact on people’s lives.