The Guardian: Kenya’s Tech Startups Trial Digital Classrooms in Drive for Literacy

January 23, 2017   |   Kenya

[Wambui Munge, R4D communications officer, comments on the need for greater government collaboration in scaling digital education programs in Kenya.]

It’s a hot Tuesday afternoon and Martin and his classmates are studying biology in the library of Kibera, Kenya’s largest slum. Yet the children are not staring at a blackboard or copying lessons from a textbook. There’s not even a teacher in the room. Instead, small groups of excited 10-year-olds gather around tablets, tapping and swiping between quizzes and educational videos.

They are using eLimu, a local software platform that aims to optimise learning by turning Kenya’s school curriculum into colourful, easy-to-digest exercises. And they are not alone. Kenya is brimming with companies trying to bring education into the digital era by scanning textbooks, developing bite-sized courses for mobile phones and providing tablets to rural schools.

Kenya’s digital gap is vast. Despite being east Africa’s largest economy and spending twice as much money per student as the average developing country, there is only one primary teacher for every 47 pupils and the majority of them have no access to computers or the internet.

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