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Microsoft, British Council in Sh172m ICT program

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 23- Microsoft and the British Council have launched a Sh172 million ICT program dubbed, Project Badiliko, that will see educators and school leaders build 80 digital hubs across six Sub Saharan countries including Kenya.

Others are Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia, Ghana and Nigeria.

Microsoft’s Regional Education Manager, Mark Matunga said the program will contribute in building ICT capacity for all, and help the country achieve its Vision 2030 faster.

“In 2003, Microsoft committed Sh43 billion. During the first five years, we have been approaching relevant partners and governments to sign memorandums of understanding (MOU’s) for the promotion of ICT and education. In the next phase, we saw an opportunity to partner with the British Council to help promote ICT and education in the initial 6 countries across Sub- Saharan countries,” Matunga said.

“Microsoft has trained over 20,000 Kenyan educators not only on basic ICT skills, but also on ICT integration in teaching and learning. Also, Microsoft has generated over 230,000 email accounts in Kenya and 45,000 email accounts in Uganda for public school teachers.”

The Regional Director to Kenya from the British Council, Alison Coutts further added the partnership will allow for further training which can in turn reach educators and leaders on the ground.

“We try and provide access to global experiences throughout the educational system. Through ICT we have a wider base of potential consumers to reach and give more opportunities to both the learners as well as the educationalists,” said Coutts.

Project Badilika is expected to train more than 20,000 school leaders and teachers across Sub Saharan Africa, and provide more than 100,000 learners and communities with digital access, while promoting literacy throughout the region.

So far, 45 teachers were trained in Ghana in the first training session under the Badiliko project.

Joe Lemaron, project manager for the British Council and Microsoft Project in Sub Saharan Africa said: “This is about equipping young people with the skills that will serve them throughout their lives: leadership, creativity, ambition and a desire to connect and contribute to the wider world.”

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The Badiliko Project was created by drawing from pilot projects that both partners had previously developed independently and is making use of respective areas of experience and expertise, to co- create a project that meets aligned objectives.

The digital hubs will be used by learners and for teacher training during the day, and by the wider local community after school hours for e- government, community skills training and as internet cafes.

Where schools are off the power grids, the hubs will be supported by solar power and long-range Wi-Fi for connectivity.

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