Nokia and UNICEF have launched a shared-value partnership during this year’s Nairobi Innovation Week — to increase equitable access to digital literacy to the disadvantaged children in Kenya. This includes girls and children with disabilities in urban informal settlements and remote areas of Kenya.
The partnership builds on the Kenyan Government’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 brings together stakeholders from Kenya’s Ministries of Education and ICT, as well as the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) to address challenges and unlock opportunities for digital learning and literacy.
Joachim Wuilmet, Nokia’s head of Marketing and Communications, MEA, said in a press statement, Nokia is honored to work with UNICEF and the Kenyan Government to connect schools in remote areas.
“We’re committed to using our technologies to meet the goals of sustainable development worldwide,” said Wuilmet.
As an initial step, the Accessible Digital Textbook with special features for children, with hearing, visual and intellectual disabilities, has successfully been piloted in schools during the Q1 of 2019. Thus, the Kenyan Government plans on officially launching it later this month.
The textbook is produced by KICD with the active involvement of disability stakeholders. They infused different media-overlays with audio for the visual impaired, simplified text for children with intellectual disabilities, and Kenya Sign Language video inserts for the hearing impaired.
KICD, Chief Executive; Dr. Julius Jwan confirmed that KICD successfully produced the first accessible digital textbook for children in Grade 1, contributing to equitable access to digital literacy.
“This accessible digital course material is for Grade 1 in Environmental Activities. Within the same platform caters for children with visually impairment, hearing impairment and intellectual disabilities,” says Jwan.
He further emphasized that the course allows learners without disabilities to access features like Kenya Sign Language videos, thereby contributing to inclusive education.
The textbook provides quality digital content for children with disabilities on the Digital Literacy Project devices.
Maniza Zaman, the Rep. of UNICEF Kenya said the first Accessible Digital Textbook is a major step in furthering inclusive education through innovative technology for children in Kenya and beyond.
“This innovative partnership is to empower the most disadvantaged children to get quality education with the most powerful tool of the century — ‘the internet’,” said Zaman.
Going forward, the partnership will provide support to the Kenyan Government to avail more digital learning materials to schools in urban informal settlements of Nairobi and the frontier counties of Garissa and Turkana. This will be achieved by connecting them to the internet using the latest Nokia connectivity technology.
Scaling-up of internet connectivity in schools is planned to allow students to access quality digital learning materials that are aligned to the new competency-based curriculum and approved by the government.