The Jakarta Post
Welcome: The Gu-ling application interface. (Shutterstock/File)
Finding good private tutors for specific subjects can be difficult. This prompted several young digital entrepreneurs to create a mobile application, which aims to solve this issue.
The name of the application is Gu-ling, an acronym for guru keliling (mobile teachers), which has a similar concept to online transportation service applications.
At the time of writing, the application offered the services of private tutors who could assist students at home in Malang, East Java.
The subjects and educational levels covered are quite complete, encompassing elementary school (SD), junior high school (SMP), senior high school (SMA) and vocational high school (SMK).
The initiator and CEO of Gu-ling, Fammy Azmy Arrofi, said the application had been in development since 2015, and was created out of a desire to facilitate the process of learning.
“With the rising tendency of digital application utilization, I attempted to provide access to teachers via the online transportation system,” Fammy, 26, said during the recent launch of Gu-ling in Malang.
Fammy, once an SMK teacher, said the application came with a user-friendly interface just like other mobile applications.
“For the moment we’ve made it available on Android based smartphones so students or parents can download it for free and register to see the teachers they need,” he explained.
Teachers in Gu-ling are not employees but partners.
Since the launch of the website version in July, Gu-ling has received over 100 partnership requests from teachers.
“As an initial step we selected 50 of them first,” said Fammy, who is now following postgraduate teachers’ training at Malang State University.
Partnerships with Gu-ling are open for those with a legitimate teaching job at a state or private school or college students in semester V and above who have competency in relevant subjects.
“They should be ready to work hard, have active smartphones, private vehicles and spare time suited to our schedules, from 13.00 to 21.00,” added Fammy.
To develop the application, Fammy collaborated with the Information Technology (IT) team of Cloud-Astro Mobile to handle his website and application availability on Google playstore.
A member of the IT team, Nurdin Panjaya Sakti, said Gu-ling was developed from the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system.
“Separate student and teacher versions can be downloaded,” Nurdin said.
The teacher version offers schedule, record and profile features while the student version has order, list order, settings and help options.
“It’s like ordering transportation services, food and the like, online on the same day. You start with making an order, tracking it, to the learning process and cash payment,” Nurdin, a graduate of Brawijaya University in Malang, said.
Gu-ling also has fixed rates, which are currently set at Rp 35,000 for SD, Rp 45,000 for SMP and Rp 55,000 for SMA/SMK.
The fee is for a 90-minute meeting, followed by direct cash payment at the end of the session.
“Such a meeting allows for teacher-student social interactions within the learning session, which is more important than and can’t be replaced by, an online process,” Nurdin said.
For every transaction, a teacher only needs to pay Rp 5,000 to Gu-ling.
“For now, all charges are still paid in cash while we’re planning to utilize the electronic payment method later,” Nurdin added.
Like online transportation services, Gu-ling also has an incentive scheme for teachers who get frequent orders.
A teacher can become a favorite of students through the star rating system, which indicates student satisfaction, and for which the teacher will later receive a reward.
“Repeat orders can be made with the same teacher as long as there’s a vacant schedule,” Nurdin said.
From this activity teachers will earn extra income besides their monthly salaries without disturbing their teaching timetables while college students will get more pocket money.
On the other hand, school students have the opportunity to learn with teachers at home with flexible time arrangements.
While Gu-ling is now only available for students and teachers who use Android-based smartphones and operates only in Malang, the team behind the app has plans for further expansion.
“We will continue to develop it to make it available on iOS-based smartphones,” Nurdin said.
Meanwhile, Fammy, who idolizes Nelson Mandela and his motto that education is the most effective weapon to change the world, also acknowledged the need to keep developing the application from iOS extension, to feature improvement and operational expansion.
“While we’re still operating in Malang city only, we hope to expand the area in the future at least as far as Malang regency and the nearby town of Batu,” he said.
Several offers for cooperation have come from regions outside Malang, which are yet to be studied by his team.
“The more extensive the areas of operation, the greater the number of students that will have the chance to be assisted and certainly a lot more teachers can contribute their knowledge through their involvement as our partners,” Fammy said.