Kenya private schools gear up for connected classrooms
By Semaj Itosno, Nairobi, Kenya
Kenya’s private schools, in conjunction with technology companies Microsoft, Intel, Safaricom and Mitsumi, have partnered to take affordable gadgets and learning solutions to all private schools across the country.
In the collaboration, Intel East Africa will provide training programs and material, Safaricom Limited will provide the data plan, Equity Bank will be the finance partner and Mitsumi Computer Garage will offer devices.
According to Peter Ndoro, CEO Kenya Private Schools Alliance, schools 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,’ said Mr. Ndoro.
There are about 3400 private schools in Kenya.
The alliance aims to ensure all private schools have provisions for cheaper laptops and relevant digital curriculum for learners before end of this year.
In the agreement, every Intel device purchased will come pre-loaded with approved Intel Explore and Learn, a one-stop shop for digital education content.
Specifically tailored finance options will also be provided through loans from Kenya’s Equity Bank and M-Changa, a mobile money-based way to contribute towards the purchase of devices. Special data packages from Safaricom will also be provided, consisting of 5 gigabyte and 10 gigabyte bundles.
“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),” said Alex Twinomugisha – Business Development Manager, Intel Corporate East Africa.
“Teachers need proper training and the curriculum needs tweaking to fit the new era of technology in classrooms,” said Twimomugisha.
There are over 60 in-built science experiments pre-loaded in the gadgets to be distributed by Mitsuni Computer Garage.
The gadgets, which private schools are expected to buy through a financial plan with Equity bank ranges from the very basic to the advanced depending on learners’ needs.
Better still the laptops, especially those targeting junior learners come bundled with a classroom management system to monitor students’ activity. The laptops for the small children are break-proof to withstand rough handling. The gadgets will also be fitted a theft deterrent software meaning if they are stolen or smuggled out of school they can be remotely locked and rendered unusable