Nokia & UNICEF give tablets to blind & deaf primary school kids in Kenya to boost digital literacy

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Nokia and the Finnish National Committee for the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and UNICEF Kenya are launching digital textbooks in Kenyan primary schools to increase equitable access to digital literacy especially for girls and children with disabilities in urban informal settlements and remote areas.

The Accessible Digital Textbook with special features for children, with hearing, visual and intellectual disabilities has successfully been piloted in schools Q1 of 2019 and will be launched by the Government of Kenya later this month. The textbook was produced by KICD with other disability stakeholders and are in line with the new competency-based curriculum and approved by the Government of Kenya.

According to Dr. Julius Jwan, CEO of KICD: “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.”

This textbook provides quality digital content for children with disabilities on the Digital Literacy Project devices. This accessible digital course material is for Grade 1 in Environmental Activities and within the same platform caters for children with visually impairment, hearing impairment and intellectual disabilities. It also allows learners without disabilities to access features like Kenya Sign Language videos, thereby contributing to inclusive education.

The deal will see UNICEF and Nokia fund and provide Internet connectivity and technology to support Kenya government’s efforts in digital literacy in urban informal settlements of Nairobi and the frontier counties of Garissa and Turkana.

Maniza Zaman, Representative of UNICEF in Kenya, said: “We are proud to have contributed to the development of the first Accessible Digital Textbook with support from the UNICEF Innovation Fund and Nokia. This is a major step in furthering inclusive education through innovative technology for children in Kenya and beyond.”

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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.

The partnership between Nokia and UNICEF Kenya brings together stakeholders from the Government of Kenya’s Ministries of Education and ICT, as well as the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD), children, teachers, content providers and mobile network operators in Kenya, to address challenges and unlock opportunities for digital learning and literacy.