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Corrsy Details

Description: Corrsy is a platform that offers a comprehensive range of online courses and educational resources for individuals looking to enhance their skills and knowledge in various fields. The focus is especially for youth to pass their national exams and avoid dropping out of school.

Type: Private EdTech company, for profit

Ownership: 90% in Finland, the Founding team, 10% Angel Investors in Jordan and UAE

Organisation size: Small enterprise

Operational in: Iraq, focus on Arabic speaking countries in Middle East.

Serving: Secondary and high school students

Technology Type and Infrastructure Requirements: Mobile application

User Competencies Developed: Future skills for life - critical thinking, metacognition, problem solving

Connection Required: Yes

Contact: Mustafa Abdulameer, CEO,

1. WHY

What does the solution provide: Online courses and educational resources


The solution can be used by/serves: Secondary and high school students


Resources needed for implementation/ Offline accessibility: No




Read the interview of Mustafa Salam, CEO of Corrsy


What specific education challenge is this solution trying to resolve?

I am originally from Iraq; I left the country in 2015. I consider myself a typical Iraqi: I lost my father in a civil war, I have been internally displaced, a refugee, and my life has been like a Hollywood movie! I come from a very good family. The two things that brought me to do this are: First, entrepreneurship, which I have always been practising, and second, I had a very good education, attended private schools, graduated from engineering, and had good English skills.

In the Middle East people learn for exams—not for life. We help you pass the exam but also help to gain skills for careers. Statistics say that in the Middle East 7/10 kids receive private tutoring. The cost of this reaches up to 20% of any family income, which is very expensive. On average it costs 3500 USD per student per schooling year to pass the pre-college exam. If families don't have the funds, their children do not pass it. The exams are designed this way.

Especially in rural areas, for a technology solution to be implemented, the whole local infrastructure, usage of devices, low internet connectivity and band width are a challenge. Now, the average speed for Iraqi users is about 1 MB per second, and in Finland it is 240 MB per second. In Iraq they are still using 3,5 G, in Finland 5G. But we work with that. If you open Corrsy anywhere you will get the opportunities very fast.

Where does this solution fit into a global or local (digital) educational landscape?

Our vision is to give high quality education to everyone with a mobile connection. We are using the national curricula but also trying to provide skills and competence outside of it. Simply put, we are in between the national curricula and competence solving the private tutoring issue.

And I know what it will look like on the other side without education. Private tutoring is the second largest business within education in the area—and so there is a possibility to make both profit and great impact at the same time.

How does your solution work, especially for new users?

Corrsy is a student-centred solution, focused on enhancing student learning outcomes. We deliver content designed on micro learning, storytelling and gamification in order to get higher engagement and better learning outcomes.

When students enter, they see the game environment, and the fear of exams is taken away. We get to the point immediately. It is more cost effective and affordable for many. Students see the content in different formats such as video, text, pdf. It is from the national curriculum but based on the Finnish education principles. After every lesson there is an exam which is inspired by the previous year's exams. We are implementing them so that students see what it will be like in the national exams. They see it and when they feel like they would pass, they feel good.

But private tutoring means different things in different contexts. In Iraq it's not private in the Finnish sense, when a student visits a tutor individually. In Iraq it is sitting in a class with hundreds of others getting the same teaching. The whole experience is like this.

How well-known, popular, or used is the solution in Finland? (To what do you attribute this success?)

In Finland we are part of the bigger ecosystem. We are trying to do it like many other founders in Finland that are trying to get their solutions to the Middle East. We are working very closely with other experienced entrepreneurs. In Finland we don't have users but a good ecosystem that helps us to grow in the Middle East.

Corrsy is specialised in one thing and not all the things, so we are happy to open opportunities for others who are not familiar with the market and the implicit knowledge that you gain only after living there, like trying to build a business consortium, to extend the lifespan of our students' opportunities. Other Finnish solutions are very much needed there.

How safe is it to use this solution?

We take safety very seriously. As a Finnish company we have to comply with regulations. But there are some other serious reasons too for us not sharing any data.

In Iraq girls are studying behind their family's backs because of the situation. Even fathers can’t know that families pay for tutoring services for girls, so subscriptions are asked to be paid when fathers are not home, especially in the rural areas which we are targeting. When fathers go to work, girls talk to mothers and agree to operate in silence and pay the subscription fee behind the father's back. If they found out, it would be a tough situation. Sometimes girls even need to do this behind their mothers' back. Sometimes the eldest girls do it and pay the subscription fee for their younger siblings. It is hard to believe! It is peoples' lives we are protecting here, so we will not share any data.

It is still the case in some communities that girls need to drop out of education to be housewives, marry and have kids at age 15. You are not allowed to go to school. But what to do when you want to continue your education? We have hundreds of users like this. Our specific target group is 12-19-year-olds, and that is +20% of the Iraqi population. They are not reached by social media due to their age. Now, many other solution providers are knocking on our door to use our algorithm, which would mean an extra revenue stream for us, but we are saying no, until we are sure we have a safe and good plan. So far, we have refused all requests, including research. We must protect the children, girls especially.




Who can use the solution, what is the user’s role when using the solution, and what kind of skills are required?

The solution can be used by students, learners. No previous skills are needed.

All a user needs to have is a smart device, and even a low internet connection and an outdated device will do. The user's role is using the existing content.

Imagine a classroom setting: Describe the experience of the learners, teachers and other possible user types.

The user will get private tutoring in a gamified way. The content can be designed in-house by local teachers. This combination has a unique position in the market. The learner consumes content in a shorter time and with less data usage, and yet their passing rate is double compared to other students.

Many investors said no to me because our in-app time is less than the competitors'. But that is just the point—in 5 min the learner gets what they want and need, they shouldn't spend more time.

How are the users/teachers communicating with each other or building community in the context of/inside the solution?

Currently there is interaction between the app and the learner. In the future we aim for more teacher-student communication.

What kind of capacity building or system support is necessary to ensure the successful implementation and sustainability of the innovation?

Our solution is not used by local teachers in classrooms, but we work with teachers. We incentify them by giving 11% to local teachers, who we hire for part time jobs. We work with 1 teacher per subject, so currently we have 10 teachers and 5 content creators, besides our operational marketing team.

All of the edtech companies entering the Middle East focus on delivering the best tech solutions, the most scalable ones. But it is not like this here Middle East—the teachers are the result of a broken education system. The corrupted schools have been corrupted for 40 years, and they do not have skills to use any technology. It is like giving a pen to someone who doesn't know how to draw.

We offer a 6-week training period: technical, pedagogy and operational. Our production speed is fast, and it is important that the teachers follow this rhythm. The production is based on whiteboarding, how to do lessons, and how to work on a cloud-based platform. The teacher training program is what we are continuously developing.

Scalability, Impact and sustainability

Scalability, Impact and sustainability

Scale is a result of multiple successful implementations in a variety of contexts. How can the solution be scaled up to reach a larger number of learners and schools?

First, we have extensive growth-hacking practices on social media. Marketing costs us 3 cents per download, while for the competitors it is 50-60 cents.

Second, we like partnering with other ecosystem partners, like edtech companies, and complementing their services—not competing. We want to become their digital arm. Now we need to start working with teacher training programs.

When it comes to technology, we need to work with the big ecosystem players such as telecom companies, to reach millions of users in low tech areas. This is what our whole design is built for.

Share an implementation success story/quote to describe your scalability.

When it comes to content creation and how to scale with content, the question is are we able to produce a number of lessons? In what number of languages? We really put time on the design of the production line. Now we are producing 30 lessons per week. Every lesson is priced and can be scaled in every country. Very audible, engaging and high-quality content.

Explain your Operational model / Business model

We operate with a B2C (business-to-consumer) model in Iraq. I know how to hustle there as you need to be careful because of the corruption.

We have a B2B2C (business-to-business-to-consumer) model in Saudi Arabia because building a brand there is more expensive, the competition is fierce and everyone is watching. We have a very good partner, a family office focused on Education. We are also partnering operationally with an offline and online tutoring company to extend their services as their digital arm.

Is it possible for parents, teachers, schools, municipalities, governments, CSR/NGOs/Funds to become users/customers of your solution?


What are your pricing plans / funding models like?

In Iraq, a student pays 22 USD per year for 5 subjects for the whole grade.

How do you measure the impact, or effectiveness, of your solution?

For us it is important to collect data of the user journey: completion rate, number of passed quizzes, grades, subjects studied. We have measures of all that.

The most concrete KPI (Key Performance indicator) is the passing rate. When we started, we wanted to test if this is proven. 69% is the passing rate after learning with Corrsy and 35% after a normal private tutoring service. We almost doubled the rate.

Does the user receive feedback on the impact of the solution after using it? If so, how?

The learning experience includes interactivity and feedback. If you are learning on Corrsy, we use the local dialect to encourage the student, for example, "Hey, don't worry. This is where you are not passing, you could perhaps continue there!" We give a detailed report after each lesson.


Implementation and adaptation needs

Implementation and adaptation needs

They say innovation needs to be flexible, as it will look different over time. Describe the flexibility of your solution.

In our target countries they have energy and people. The onboarding process is one of the biggest challenges. For a big company it is easy but for a startup it is a challenge to do.

The solution is flexible because it was co-created with the users themselves, to be used in the local environment. The local technology requirements are all considered.

We have innovated the production line to be more cost-effective—no need for studios. A competitor would charge 200 USD for one subject.

But payment methods are an issue here and really tests our flexibility. We have online payment here except in GCC (The Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf). You cannot monetise in cash. This means I cannot collect money from Iraq and use it on a Finnish account. Now I have to get a licence for an Iraqi company, a middleman. A pre-paid mobile scratch card is the most common way to pay for our services. The Corrsy online card is what we had to create and deliver to all the users no matter where they are. They pay in cash, get a Corrsy card, and activate their account. This is a big part of our flexibility. Online payment and even Visa are an option there now, but nobody is using them. We have to adapt to the infrastructure. We are working now to deliver faster, from 24 h to 40 min, with a courier, like Wolt.

You ask me why we chose this market - this is the why! If a startup is a struggle, an edtech startup is more of a struggle, and if you operate in emerging markets it is an extra struggle!

What kind of adaptations are necessary when implementing the solution in a new location?

For example, private education is a must, you cannot survive without it! In Finland it is different.

In Finland there is a lack of teachers who know how to deal with immigrant children. Everything in Iraq is colonial and military—beating, sticks. When coming to Finland with creativity and freedom, Finnish teachers have difficulties dealing with these children, it is a sensitive topic like hunger. Immigrants are dropping out of schools in Sweden, Denmark and the UK. It is because of the ecosystem. The more Finnish teachers understand this, the better they are equipped.

Parents are also unable to support their children as they do not know the system, even though their children could be very smart. I would like to try in Finland, although the content and business model would have to be different. We have market intelligence, though. Helsinki Education Hub could be used as a market intelligence tool to integrate immigrants in areas related to education.

How do you expand into new markets?

We have the Corrsy learning experience, which we will expand in 6 weeks to, for example in Saudi Arabia, both the platform and the content, for Saudi teachers.

In the next 5 years we will be in all Arab speaking countries and Pakistan. The founding team is focusing on the Global South. We have the privilege to know what it is like to live there and there is a need and a big impact to be made.

How has the solution been implemented and adapted?

We start by getting the local collaborator teachers on the Corrsy training program, 4-6 lessons per week, starting immediately on a learning by doing method on the content production line. The "home" headline is the same for every country. But we ask local partners to provide us with the local features and immediately upload to Google Play and App Store.



Who are the necessary people and roles needed to ensure a successful implementation of your solution?

I see education is an ecosystem, of course! As a founder I also cannot do it without the ecosystem of stakeholders. We have teachers, without them no Corrsy! Telecomms, internet service providers, and tech partners locally are all needed. Without them no knowledge or the right kind of user experience.

The Finnish stakeholders are meaningful for us too. Not only the "made in Finland brand", which is great, but really trying to learn how the pedagogical side is done here, to really maximise it in the Middle East.

Then, we have the private tutoring services, a new business area for us, a content digital arm for them to give better experiences for their students.

Families—more courses for them, how to take the excessive pressure off the children. We have planned a marketing campaign for mothers especially, who care a lot for their children in this culture, and families for how to take the pressure away.

If any of the stakeholders are taken out, I cannot see Corrsy working.

How can local innovators, startups or organisations collaborate with you or the solution?

Good question! I want to share a campaign we did in collaboration with another innovator. It was about how to motivate students. In schools and private tutoring centres they are treating students as if they were in military service, with punishments and following them every day, beating them with a stick in front of their friends if they are not delivering homework. We cannot do this because first, we don't want to, but also because our service is online. Students will learn with incentives.

We did a campaign for students where they get to collect a point after studying on Corrsy. With the points they get discounts on e-commerce services. Most dropouts happen at the age of 15 after only 7 years of school, and what they think is that in 7 years they create a base for their career. But in our campaign we said, "Want to bring food for your family? Study 5 h a week to gain 5 USD, which you can spend on food. You will still be the man of the house, bringing food for the family."

How can local stakeholders, including educators, policymakers, and parents, be engaged in the implementation of the solution?

When it comes to the policymakers, in Iraq we are avoiding them. There are many invites, but we are low key partners, and partly for security, partly for corruption reasons. They say they need a cut of the cake. This is the disadvantage of operating in the Global South. But it is completely different in Saudi-Arabia, with meetings with the Ministry of Education, for example. They want to see us in real life. It depends on the market, and we aim to change the curricula and improve student health—this is what we are aiming at.

How can the middleman help you?

I am always using partners, although I know the culture. It is all about the connections. And they are needed very considerably. In Saudi Arabia we couldn't do anything without a middleman, and it is always like this. Iraq was easier, as I am from Iraq. But it also took 3,5 years and still I am, of course, using middlemen.

Although we have some multicultural people in our team we still need to adjust to cultural differences. These differences took me years to explain to a Finn. You cannot imagine it if I tell you that a teacher beats their students. And we need a team to do it, to work with the problem. We are getting there.