Growing up, my parents, like all other parents, insisted that I focus in school and get good grades. Granted, I was a good student and enjoyed reading and learning. I enjoyed it so much that I would read way ahead of the teacher and had even read all the books in my primary school by the time I was graduating. I often think about some of my favourite teachers and the ways in which they helped me become the person I am today. A huge part of who I am is from my primary school experience. I learned that my curiosity was a good thing, that I could question things, that I could think for myself, that what I thought and did mattered, that my dreams were valid and that I could forge my own path. Those lessons have never left me.

I recognize that many people did not and do not have the same experiences when it comes to education that I did. I was fortunate, and it is a function of privilege that I had access to a positive and nurturing education. Even in as much as high school was not the most pleasant time for me, I was in a national school and had access to better than most Kenyan students.

There are many reasons for lack of quality education including lack of quality assurance of learning, unequitable access to education, poor conditions of schools and lack of properly trained teachers. Kenya has made some strides in an attempt to make access to education possible for all children through the provision of free primary education, but there’s still a long way to go when it comes to quality education for all.

Quality education is the 4th goal in the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) and is the foundation to creating sustainable development and empowering people to innovate and tackle their problems. The hard truth is that education plays a big role in determining the kind of life someone will lead. Access to jobs, social mobility and overall quality of life is hinged on quality education. This then means that everyone should be invested in the education of our children and it’s great to see that companies like Safaricom recognize this.

Safaricom through the Safaricom Foundation is supporting a number of  programmes and projects that are geared towards inclusive and equitable quality education and promote life-long learning opportunities for Kenyans. Some of these include:

  • Computer for Schools provides various schools and institutions with ICT infrastructure. There is a high enrolment of students in schools due to free primary education, leaving many students behind as teachers face the challenge of teaching over 100 students in a class. The programme trains teachers and provides students with remedial classes and radios so that they are able to receive the Kenya Institute of Education educational programs aired on KBC and other educational media series.
  • Instant Network Schools (INS). helps students in East African refugee camps receive a quality education, by turning classrooms into digital learning hubs, with each class provided with 25 tablets, a laptop, projector, speaker, free internet connectivity, WIFI and localized mobile content. They also conduct continuous teacher training programs to ensure the teachers are equipped with the right set of skills. The program is set to reach up to 3 million refugees by 2020. In the past year, the program has benefited more than 43,000 students living in 14 refugee camps such as Dadaab, Kakuma, Goma and Nyarugusa.
  • 47 in 1 project is a programme aimed at providing computer labs to at least one primary school in every county, to increase digital learning. Each lab comes with ac preinstalled learning software and 17 labs have been rolled out with 20 more planned by 2019.
  • Shupavu 291 is a platform that provides lessons and quizzes to primary and high school students. It also allows them to search for information and access Wikipedia without having an internet connection. The platform also includes an ‘Ask a teacher’ feature that allows students to remotely seek assistance from a qualified teacher as well as a feature to allow teachers to check individual student performance and school performance through SMS. Since the platform was launched, 60 million questions have been exchanged and a study ran on the platform showed that users of the program score 22.7% higher than an average student their standard. So far, more than 2.8 million students and 40,000 teachers are registered on the platform.
  • M-PESA Foundation Academy is a state of the art school build to integrate technological innovation into the students learning the program. The school admits gifted but economically challenged students from all over the country on full scholarship up to university level to a university of their choice locally or internationally. 10 students per county with a gender ratio of 1:1 are admitted ensuring that every student gets a chance to learn It has a capacity of 900 students but currently homes 500. Once in the school, each student is given a tablet and their classes are fitted with an Apple TV for learning purposes. They are also taught money management as every student has an ATM and bank account for money they make from their own start-ups.
mwendeNewsTechComputer for Schools,Instant Network Schools,M-Pesa Foundation,Safaricom Foundation,SDGs
Growing up, my parents, like all other parents, insisted that I focus in school and get good grades. Granted, I was a good student and enjoyed reading and learning. I enjoyed it so much that I would read way ahead of the teacher and had even read all the...