United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) Kenya has partnered with Finnish technology company Nokia to launch a shared-value affiliation to increase equitable access to digital literacy in Kenya.
The move is in collaboration with Finland’s National Committee.
The cooperation aims to boost technology capacity among the most disadvantaged children in Kenya. This will include girls and children with disabilities in urban informal settlements and some of the most remote areas of Kenya.
The partnership builds on the Government of Kenya's investment in the Digital Literacy Project which provided one million tablets to primary schools with a focus on improving the availability and use of quality digital content.
“UNICEF is working in partnership with the Government of Kenya and the private sector through innovative partnerships to empower the most disadvantaged children to get quality education with the most powerful tool of the century - the internet,” said UNICEF Representative to Kenya Mr Maniza Zaman during the Nairobi Innovation Week.
Nokia and UNICEF have promised to bring together stakeholders from the Ministry of Education and ICT, as well as the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD), children, teachers, content providers and mobile network operators to address challenges and unlock opportunities for digital learning and literacy.
Nokia's head of Marketing and Communications, Middle East and Africa, Mr Joachim Wuilmet, they have laid-down a robust strategy to connect schools in remote areas to inspire tomorrow's leaders in Kenya.
As an initial step, the Accessible Digital Textbook with special features for children, with hearing, visual and intellectual disabilities, has successfully been piloted in schools during the first quarter of 2019 and will be launched by the government later this month.
"With technical and financial support provided by UNICEF and active participation of children with disabilities, KICD has successfully produced the first accessible digital textbook for children in Grade 1, contributing to equitable access to digital literacy,” said KICD chief executive Dr Julius Jwan.
The textbook, which is the first of its kind, was produced by KICD with the active involvement of disability stakeholders who infused different media-overlays with audio for children with visual impairment, simplified text for children with intellectual disabilities, and Kenya Sign Language video inserts for children with hearing impairment.
Going forward, the partnership will provide support to the government and avail more digital learning materials to schools in urban informal settlements of Nairobi and the frontier counties of Garissa and Turkana. This will be achieved by connecting them to the internet using the latest Nokia connectivity technology.
Scaling-up of internet connectivity in schools is planned to allow students to access quality digital learning materials that are aligned to the new competency-based curriculum.