Safaricom in conjunction with Ministry of Education and four other private firms have embarked on a pilot project to test the viability of using 3G-enabled tablets to boost academic performance in primary schools.
The project, if successful, will be implemented in other public schools to complement the government’s drive to provide laptops to Class One pupils.
The pilot is being conducted at Embakasi Garrison Primary School in Nairobi.
The pilot is being spearheaded by Qualcomm Incorporated, Bboxx Kenya — a solar solutions provider; eLimu eLearning Company, iHub Research, Safaricom and Motorola Solutions in partnership with the ministry.
The project dubbed Power of m-Learning in Kenya aims to create sustainable solutions to challenges in the education sector which contribute to poor performance.
With the challenges of electricity facing most schools, the companies are relying on solar energy to power the tablets.
Because of the unprecedented numbers of students who have enrolled in public schools due to the Free Primary Education policy, the teacher-pupil ratio has gone up with one instructor handling an average of 56 students.
“This project provides a sustainable solution to chronic teacher shortages, high levels of absenteeism among both students and teachers, a lack of education and other learning materials,” said eLimu chief executive Nivi Mukerjee.
The project utilises eLimu model by taking Kenyan curriculum from textbooks and adding interactive, engaging and locally designed content in form of songs, games, quizzes and animations made available through 3G enabled tablet computers.
The pilot project has enabled 250 pupils in Class Seven and Eight as well as 35 teachers receive direct access to the eLimu application through individual solar powered tablets.
“The animation captures their attention and fascinates the learning process. As teachers we no longer cough because of chalk dust and we can also use the tablets to come with schemes of work and lesson plans,” noted Martha Mayenga, a maths and science teacher at Embakasi Garrison Primary School.
The technology aims to improve learning outcomes, child literacy, numeracy skills, social awareness and cognitive thinking as well as equipping the pupils with life skills that contribute towards making them better citizens and leaders in the future.