This blog post is a series on the milestones of my startup, Jaamiah.
Milestone # 1: Single Database of all universities and their campuses along with all the information that can be useful for the students.
This has been a hell of a journey that started in October 2018 when we formally commenced work on this startup. The goal is simple,
Decrease the interregional literacy gap in Pakistan using digitalization.
September 2022, we have fully developed an active database of the higher education institutions in Pakistan with amazing features. The objective of developing and maintaining this database is to “impart outright information about the educational institutions of Pakistan on a single platform, to encourage interregional literacy, validate the academic opportunities and help plan careers.”
Brief Statistics of Higher Education Institutions in Pakistan
The ever-growing number of universities and degree-awarding institutions in Pakistan is a debate for some other day, following are the current figures (Please see the article publication date)
|Total Universities in Pakistan||242|
|Public Sector Universities||144|
|Private Sector Universities||98|
|Sub-campuses of Public Universities||84|
|Sub-campuses of Public Universities||38|
Data Collection Process
A lot of websites in Pakistan have created such data archives, but our superiority is the process that we have used to assure the credibility of the information being displayed on each page of the university. Most extensive and time-consuming was the review process once the university’s profile is added to the system.
At each step, only the University’s website and HEC were consulted. If there was some conflict, HEC’s version was preferred.
The primary beneficiaries of this database are parents looking for universities to assist their children and college students in making career choices. So, it was important for us to develop something useful, accessible, and user-friendly. This University database is further divided into the following sub-sections.
University Search Tool
This is the primary tool developed on this database that allows filtering of universities on the basis of keyword search, sector, city, and degree programs. The individual university profile page contains the following information.
- Contact Information
- Admission Criteria
- Degree Programs
Degree Programs Search Tool
This tool allows users to search for particular degree programs using keyword search, area of the field, and level of degree programs. The Individual Degree Program page contains the following information.
- Description of Degree Program
- Core Courses
- Future Prospects
- Universities offering this degree program
Scholarships Search Tool
The scholarship search tool is specifically designed for those students who are seeking scholarships before enrollment or during their degree program. Users can search for the available scholarships using keyword search, host country, funding type, and degree level. The following information is available on the individual pages of each scholarship page.
- Eligibility Criteria
- Application details
- Submission guidelines
City Search Tool
This is something very unique to our platform. As the city matters a lot where the university is located, we created a database of 30 cities from 4 provinces along with AJK and GB. The individual city pages contain information like living literacy rate, population, living expenses, and a list of universities in the city.
Major Obstacles/Lessons Learnt
We started this initiative, not as experts in educational technology but rather as concerned citizens. So, we made mistakes, we learned, and we kept moving forward. We faced all kinds of problems, like web hosting, technology stack, hiring talent, and financing. While working to achieve this milestone, we learned the following important lessons:
- Never use a cheap solution.
- Always use a scalable technology stack.
- Training talent is better than hiring expensive talent.
- Make small but achievable milestones.
- Think about sustainability and earning the first rupee from the very first day.
- Never hesitate to ship the product and receive feedback.
We are thankful to the BIC, COMSATS University Islamabad for providing us with the space, HEC for the grant, and the PEP Foundation. Along with that, my amazing team worked tirelessly during this whole period of four years. Their belief in the cause led to this achievement.
Milestone # 2: Platform for schools & colleges to create their portfolio/mini-websites
Currently, we are working to deploy the CRED (Create, Edit, Delete) feature for educational institutions so they can manage their profiles on their own and exploit the full potential of our platform.
Keep visiting this blog and following us on Twitter to receive the latest updates.