Global technology companies Microsoft, Intel, Safaricom and Mitsumi, have partnered with private schools in Kenya, to provide affordable gadgets and learning solutions across about 3400 private schools in the country.
The partnership, which aims to ensure that all private schools have provisions for cheaper laptops and relevant digital curriculum for learners before the end of this year is part of the Microsoft’s 4Afrika Youth Device Program that launched earlier this year to provide scholarships, fellowships, and internships to thousands of African youth.
The Microsoft 4Afrika’s Youth Program starts in Kenya with the aim of equipping youth with 21st century skills, and promotes digital inclusion amongst Africa’s youth and educators across the continent. It will be introduced in other African markets like Egypt, Nigeria and South Africa at a latter date.
Meanwhile, the 4Afrika Youth Device program will see Intel East Africa provide training programs and material while Safaricom Limited will provide the data plan, Kenya’s Equity Bank will be the finance partner and Mitsumi Computer Garage will offer devices.
Specifically-tailored finance options will also be provided through loans from Equity Bank and M-Changa, a mobile money-based platform, will contribute finances towards a common cause while Safaricom will provide special data packages, consisting of 5 gigabyte and 10 gigabyte bundles.
Every Intel device purchased will come pre-loaded with approved Intel Explore and Learn, a one-stop shop for digital education content, an agreement signed by the entities read.
“Through this platform, learners can easily access a wide variety of content including text books, set books, revision books, interactive past exam papers, rich multimedia (audio, video and animations),” Alex Twinomugisha, Business Development Manager, Intel Corporate East Africa, said, adding that “Teachers need proper training and the curriculum needs tweaking to fit the new era of technology in classrooms.”
The gadgets, especially those targeted at junior learners, come bundled with a classroom management system to monitor students’ activity. The laptops for children are break-proof to withstand rough handling and the gadgets will be fitted with a theft deterrent software, which remotely locks and renders it unusable if they are stolen or smuggled out of school.
CEO Kenya Private Schools Alliance, Peter Ndoro explained that school laptops worth between sh30, 000 and sh55, 000 bundled with relevant content and e-learning materials will be offered to learners in private schools.
“We intend to train at least three teachers in all private schools on the use of the gadgets and the e-curriculum by the end of the year… we already have 32 trainer of trainers but we intend to increase that number to 102 so that we can train all the targeted private schools teacher before end of the year,’ he said.
According to Microsoft 4Afrika Youth Enablement director, Patrick Onwumere, the goal of the programme is not only to offer a “range of affordable devices with educational applications and online services, but to deliver experiences that students and educators love through strategic cost of ownership, and training and support for the education partner ecosystem.”