Facebook is testing an education-focused mobile app called “Sabee” which means “to know” in Nigerian Pidgin. The app aims to connect learners and educators in online communities to make educational opportunities more accessible.
Sabee is tied to Facebook’s larger strategy of focusing more on serving the African continent, starting with Nigeria.
The app is currently in early alpha testing with fewer than 100 testers who are under NDA agreements with Facebook. It’s not available for anyone else beyond that group at present, but the company hopes to scale Sabee to the next stage before the end of the year according to Techcrunch.
The app was briefly published to Google Play by “NPE Team,” the internal R&D group at Facebook but it is no longer available to the public. It was available so briefly that it was never ranked on any charts, Sensor Tower, an app store intelligence firm, said.
Emeka Okafor, Facebook Product Lead said “There are 50 million learners, but only 2 million educators in Nigeria. With this small, early test, we’re hoping to understand how we can help educators build communities that make education available to everyone. We look forward to learning with our early testers, and deciding what to do from there.”0
The disparity between learners and educators in Nigeria greatly impacts women and girls, which is another key focus for Sabee — and the NPE Team’s efforts in the region as a whole. The company also wants to explore how to better serve groups that are often left behind by technology. Sabee is working to create an experience that works with low connectivity, like 2G.
Last year, Facebook opened its first office in Lagos. This office provided the company with a hub in the region and the first office on the continent staffed with a team of engineers. Sabee app is one of the first products to emerge from this office.