NAIROBI, Kenya 22 Sep – Samsung Electronics Africa says investing in strategic partnerships and technology is key to improving the quality of education in Africa.
The company has established Solar Powered Internet School where freight containers are converted to fully equipped computer classes, creating e-learning centers in various schools and lately launching Smart Schools where students user tablets in learning.
These different approaches have helped the company get an overview on what works in different areas in regards to e-learning. The company has put up over 100 digital learning initiatives across Africa with East Africa hosting most of these initiatives.
One of the high school that is using this technology is Starehe Boys Center, where Samsung has deployed its Smart School solution.
Showcasing the solution at Innovation Africa conference being held in Nairobi, the students can collect teacher’s notes, answer quizzes and engage the teacher directly from their tablets. The tablets are connected to a central server that hosts content and saves every student’s work.
The teacher, on the other hand, can also monitor the students’ tablets, lock them in case the students are diverging from the lesson and quickly aggregate the quiz results.
Peter Ndungu, the school’s principal is happy with the new progress that the Smart School Solution has made in the education of his students.
“There is more collaboration between students and teachers,” he said. “Students can now access content that they could not before.”
He described this as a revolution that will impact the country’s education sector.
Abey Tau, Samsung Africa’s Corporate Citizenship and Public Affairs Manager, said that the only way true digital learning can take root is for a formidable partnership between the government and the private sector, not overlooking the student and the teachers.
Speaking to Capital FM, Tau said that the continent needs more of these digital programmes, adding more similar initiatives by other players can only add value to the education sector.
“I don’t know if you could ever have enough because the social economic challenges on the continent are just too big. I would rather prefer that different organization take on an element and they are able to transform the areas that they are in,” Tau said.
“I would have a problem if there are too many partners within the same school. I’d rather they diversify and go to other places, and that’s what we are trying to do at Samsung.”
Tau prefers that the digital learning is introduced to learners at a young age.
“If we are to let kids play around with technology, you do not want to start them from an age where they should know how to use it. I’d rather you give it to them young, let them integrate and know how to use them.”
Already the Kenyan government has targeted 1.2 million standard one school pupils in the Digital Literacy Programme which is a flagship of the Jubilee Government. Cabinet Secretary for education Fred Matiangi said that the project which is capital intensive will eventually target the 9 million school children.
Dr. Belio Kipsang, the Principal Secretary in the ministry of education in Kenya said during the Innovation Africa conference that the government through KICD is creating a cloud solution for all educational publishers to upload their content. This content will be available to all students in the Digital Literacy Programme.
The Innovation Africa conference is on its sixth edition under the theme “Designed and made for Africa by Africa”, and has brought over 40 government ministers and 30 African nations to discuss with ICT companies in building e-learning initiatives in Africa.