That learning has moved online in the wake of the coronavirus (Covid-19) is no news.
President Uhuru Kenyattatwo weeks ago ordered schools shut to mitigate the spread of the highly contagious disease that spreads through droplets from coughs and sneezes of infected persons.
The challenge now is in accessing learning materials for learners as they play catch-up for the reminder of the school term.
To ease the pressure, education tech solution firm, Snapplify is offering 49,000 e-books and revision materials to Kenyans for free.
The books include readers in English and Kiswahili while the revision materials comprise past papers from the Kenya National Examination Council (KNEC).
“We have revision materials and marking schemes for 8.4.4, Cambridge and CGC curriculums,” said Snapplify account manager for Kenya Joan Muse.
The online distributor also stocks Competency Based Curriculum (CBC) and 8.8.4 books that are available at a subsidised price.
Currently, the online shop has CBC books from 12 publishers all whom it says are accredited by government to supply the market.
Accredited publishers are listed in an official roster known as the Orange Book.
“We are currently in negotiations to have Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) materials on our platform too,” she said.
Aside from e-book and revision materials, Snapplify offers interactive content in subjects such as Maths, Physics, Chemistry, English and Accounts.
For instance, in Biology, there is a 3D video that takes the learner through the digestive tract.
Currently, some 555 schools have registered on the platform to aid learners keep track with school work.
“We have seen an increase in the number of schools that want to utilise our platform,” said Ms Muse noting that the uptake was slow before the COVID-19 pandemic.
Aside from schools, Snapplify whose catalogue has about 300,000 books, also serves corporates.
Users only need to download the app at no cost to be able to access the learning materials.
Because of Covid-19, teachers and students are suddenly compelled to use technology as they teach and learn.
The government has scaled up online and electronic delivery of lessons for learners following the pandemic that has disrupted the school calendar.
The Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) announced that it has expanded the existing broadcast for schools programme by more than two hours in the wake of coronavirus pandemic.
This means that learners from Grade Three to Form Four can access lessons for up to eight hours daily through the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC) radio and television.
In the same breath, Longhorn #ticker:LKL, a publishing firm, unveiled a free learning portal for quarantined primary and secondary schoolchildren.
“Grade One to Form Four learners will access learning materials on Longhorn’s online portal, elearning.longhornpublishers.com. The materials provided cover both the new Competency Based Curriculum and also 8-4-4 system,” said Longhorn chief executive Maxwell Wahome in a statement.
Learners with both smartphones and feature phones can access the Longhorn learning materials either on the internet or by dialling the publisher’s USSD code *864#. Focus now shifts to individuals and learners that have challenges accessing the internet because of connectivity difficulties.
Teachers reckon most marginalised students are going to feel the digital divide intensely.
“We have to make sure whatever we do for instruction is equitable,” said a teacher who sought anonymity.
Issues around remote schooling however go beyond broadband access, as they also include housing and food insecurity.