In Niger, a new online digital platform facilitates the organization of school exams

Find out how, through the digitalization of processes related to national exams and competitions, an innovative digital platform is helping to solve many of the problems inherent in the organization of official exams in Niger.

July 20, 2022 by Sidikou Boubacar Illiassou, i-FUTUR
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4 minutes read
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Screenshot of the digital platform Lauréat
Screenshot of the digital platform Lauréat

This blog is part of a series showcasing the winners of the African Union ‘Innovating Education in Africa’ program.

My name is Boubacar Sidikou. I am 36 years old and I am from Niger. I am a software and telecoms engineer and worked for over 12 years for the telecoms operators Orange and Moov.

As I gained experience in the sector, I knew that I wanted to do more with the knowledge I had acquired. So I set up my own company, i-Futur, in 2015. It specializes in providing digital, IT and network solutions for all sectors.

i-FUTUR is the first technology partner operating in the education sector in Niger. Since 2017, i-FUTUR has supervised operations to digitize a wide range of activities of the information systems in the Ministry of National Education, as well as in schools and training institutions.

Creating a new, robust system for exam candidates

Niger is a very large and populated country. One of the major challenges facing the education sector has been how to ensure that candidates from all regions of the country can easily complete the necessary formalities for taking a national examination.

In fact, owing to the distance between communities, some candidates were forced to take leave from their jobs just to be able to complete registration requirements. Moreover, state authorities often had to wait several months for all communities to send all the necessary documentation on the candidates. There was a risk that with all this back and forth, documents could be misplaced. There was even a risk to the state in terms, for example, of collecting the registration fees that had been paid.

Lauréat, our innovative platform, provides solutions to all these challenges. It consists of several platforms and software programs for digitizing the processes for national examinations and competitions (enrollment of candidates, payment of registration fees, issuance of notifications to take an exam, digital management by examiners, online publication of results, presentation of diplomas).

Using Lauréat, we helped the Office du Baccalauréat du Niger (Niger Baccalaureate Office) organize the examinations for the Baccalaureate and the advanced vocational training certificate (Brevet de Technicien Supérieur, BTS). This innovative platform was used to solve a host of problems, such as the lack of communication with candidates, errors in the submission of applications, red tape in candidate file management, human error in the correction of exams, processing of complaints, and archaic methods of records management.

Lauréat has benefited:

  • Examination candidates
  • School administrators, principals and assistant principals
  • Chairs of boards of examiners, teacher-researchers
  • Government officials.

Thanks to our innovative platform, for the first time in Niger, candidates were able to complete the administrative procedures for exam registration without having to travel anywhere.

Neither the candidates nor their parents will now have to go from one examination center to another to register or to obtain results. They simply need a few clicks on a telephone or a computer.

Schools can now control the registration of their candidates; and the government can now save hundreds of millions thanks to digitization. Independent candidates (those not put forward by a school) have been able to do their own registration online. Chairs of boards of examiners can now use the software on their computers, thus limiting the risk of human error when calculating scores.

The ease with which certificates can be issued, thanks to data digitization, has also been a significant step forward. The government now has access to exam statistics in real time.

Immediate and far-reaching impact

As a result of Lauréat,

  • More than 160,000 Baccalaureate and BTS candidates throughout Niger have registered online and made online payments, using Airtel Money, Moov Money, Al Izza, Mastercard or VISA bank cards.
  • More than 800 educational institutions are now interconnected.
  • Over 2,000 school administrators (principals, assistant principals, etc.) now have an account on the platform.
  • 200 teacher–researchers used software to facilitate the task of supervising examiners.
  • Certifications and transcripts of records for the Bac Niger (Niger Baccalaureate), which had been easy to falsify, are now secured with a QR code.
  • Notifications for the baccalaureate examination and results are uploaded online, using a WhatsApp Chatbot system.

The Ministry of Education, and indeed all education authorities, quickly showed an interest in the Lauréat system. In view of the importance of the project, the Ministry helped disseminate information on the use of the various platforms to enhance the smooth flow of the entire examination process.

This digitization process was among the important decisions made by the government at the meeting of the Council of Ministers on November 6, 2021. The reforms undertaken have made it possible for candidates to save a great deal of time and to access their results in real time. Many expressions of satisfaction have been addressed to i-FUTUR.

Recognition across the continent

The African Union has also awarded a certificate of recognition to i-FUTUR for the best innovation in Africa.

All the platforms that we developed are very intuitive, have significant storage capacity, and are highly adaptable. They can handle data from any organization that has information.

In order to enhance our innovation, the different platforms can be used for other state-run competitions and examinations, as well as by other public institutions, including the Ministry of Public Service, the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of the Interior, in order to modernize the end-to-end process of organizing examinations and to manage the operations effectively, while ensuring complete traceability. All these actions can be effectively carried out once the user has an account.

Investments in education help shape a future society that is more thoroughly equipped, better educated and more competitive.

It is therefore critical to optimize the use of digital platforms by teachers and promote the adoption of these solutions across the countries of the subregion.

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Read other blogs in this series:

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