Home Startups Qualcomm Piloting 3G Tablets to Enhance Learning in Kenya’s Primary Schools

Qualcomm Piloting 3G Tablets to Enhance Learning in Kenya’s Primary Schools

by Sam Wakoba
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Qualcomm Director Business Development Billy Owino (left) and Nivi Mukherjee, CEO Elimu with students of Embakasi Garrison during the launch

Qualcomm Business Development Director for East Africa Billy Owino (left) and Nivi Mukherjee, eLimu CEO show pupils of Embakasi Garrison Primary School how to use 3G enabled tablets during the launch of the ‘Power of mLearning in Kenya’ pilot project that aims to demonstrate the Power of 3G technology in propelling eLearning in primary schools in Kenya. The partners donated 250 tablets to Standard 7 and 8 pupils and an additional 35 devices to teachers at the school. The tablets come with preloaded with the Kenyan educational content for this level.

Qualcomm, Bboxx Kenya – a solar solutions provider; eLimu ; iHub Research, Safaricom and Motorola Solutions in collaboration with the Kenya Ministry of Education (MOE) are piloting the viability of using 3G-enabled tablets to boast academic performance in primary schools.

Dubbed the ‘power of m-learning in Kenya’, the pilot project is ongoing at Nairobi’s Embakasi Garrison Primary School and expected to be rolled out countrywide to cover other public primary schools to complement the Government’s drive to provide laptops to pupils in primary schools in the country, if the pilot goes well.

The project aims to create sustainable solutions to challenges in the education sector which contribute to low quality education. With the challenges of electricity facing most schools, the companies are relying on solar energy to power the tablets.

Statistics indicate that 4 out of 10 students miss school daily while 10 per cent of students aged 13 – 14 cannot solve mathematics problems designed for 7 and 8 year olds. Also of all third grade students, 70 per cent cannot complete second grade work.

Students from Embakasi Garrison demonstrating how to us the tablets

Because of the unprecedented numbers of students who have enrolled in schools following the free primary education, the teacher-student ratio has gone up to one teacher per 56 students.

“This project provides a sustainable solutions to chronic teacher shortages, high levels of absenteeism among both students and teachers, lack of education and other education materials,” said eLimu CEO Nivi Mukerjee.

The project utilizes eLimu model by taking Kenyan Curriculum from textbooks and adding interactive, engaging and locally designed content through the form of songs, games, quizzes and animations made available through 3G enabled tablet computers.

IMG_3248This saw 250 students in standards seven and eight as well as 35 teachers receive direct access to the eLimu application through individual solar powered tablets. If proved successful, the companies are planning to scale up the project to cover other public primary schools.

“The animations 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 Marha Mayenga, a Maths and Science teacher.

The technology aims to improve learning outcomes, child literacy, numeracy, social awareness and cognitive thinking as well as equipping children with life skills that contribute towards making them better future citizens and leaders.

“It is interesting and exciting to be using a tablet in class. The videos and the colourful images makes it easier to remember and understand things. The tablets also have summarized notes which are much simpler to read compared to reading textbooks. This will definitely help me improve my grades,” said Septi Deborah, a class seven student.

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