Week 11: The technology driving Kenya’s education
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. However, only a third of Kenyans have access to the internet and many schools suffer from regular power outages, which makes it difficult to charge the devices. To this end, Kenya’s Ministry of Information, Communications and Technology (ICT) is rolling out the Digital Literacy Programme, which promises to deliver 1.2m devices to all of the country’s 21,718 public primary schools by the end of 2017. Devices alone are unlikely to bridge the digital divide in Kenya’s education. One Laptop Per Child – a not-for-profit organisation providing low-cost computers to children around the world – once had similar aspirations and was active in over 30 countries, before downsizing.
While African leaders and policy makers come together at different times to discuss possible ways of transforming the continent’s education sector and improving access to education, African entrepreneurs are also tackling the issue. Young entrepreneurs across Africa have taken brilliant steps in contributing to the development of a revitalised educational sector.
theguardian.com, oxfordbusinessgroup.com, epdc.org, unicef.org, icta.org.ke, kicd.co.ke, ubongo.co
Startups transforming education in Kenya include (… and not limited to ) the following:
Ubongo: A social enterprise founded by Tanzania-based Entrepreneurs, Nisha Ligon and Cleng’a Ng’atigwa. Ubongo produces a 30-minute colourful Edutainment TV show called Ubongo Kids, designed to help children discover the joys of math through fun, local stories and songs. In many countries children detest mathematics, and most record poor performances in the subject, but Ubongo is changing perceptions by helping children in East Africa improve their understanding of the subject through the interactive educational cartoon show that combines mathematical concepts with fun animated and catchy songs.
Eneza Education, a Kenyan Startup Shines at the MWC: The Kenyan startup, co-founded by Toni Maraviglia, Kago Kagichiri and Chris Asegotwo, former members of Nairobi’s iHub community, aims to provide kids in rural Africa with a virtual tutor. Eneza Education creates educational content that kids in low-income rural areas can access on low-end cell phones. Through its “virtual classroom,” students between the ages of 11 and 18 can study subjects including Math, Science, and English, and take any of its 2,000 quizzes and more than 16,000 questions, with the option of a mini lesson if they score below 50%—all for the equivalent of 50 U.S. cents a month.
Kytabu is based in Kenya and offers pay-as-you-go, mobile education. The textbook-subscription app allows students and teachers to access learning materials via desktop or low-cost Android tablets, paying small amounts that they can afford for the content that they need most. The cost of up-to-date books for the classroom is a real barrier to higher quality education, especially in the poorer areas of Kenya. Since 2012, the app has enabled users to view any textbook from the country’s entire curriculum, paying per hour, day, week or month and for one page, chapter or whole book dependent on what they can afford.
And something for the activists: Global Change Lab is an elearning platform facilitated by the Global Platforms-ActionAid International Kenya with training targeting youth activists. MyAmref is an m Learning mobile application from Amref Health Africa’s Directorate of Capacity Building (DCB) which aims to provide students with a state of the art distance learning technology delivered via mobile device. Feel free to try our free courses and inquire on how you can join the programme.
- Celebrating iHub Women: ihub.co.ke
- Kenyan entrepreneur bringing the world of high tech fitness to Nairobi’s residents: lionessofafrica.com
- Opera enters the mobile micro loan market in Kenya through its Okash App: capitalfm.co.ke
- Village Capital, PayPal select 12 African startups for fintech accelerator: disrupt-africa.com
Startup School partners with Investec to launch an online educational platform for entrepreneurs: For those looking for an online introduction to the world of entrepreneurship, this is for you. 12 separate modules run over a 12 week period ensuring that those enrolled in the course will receive a comprehensive educational experience. Initial applications for the program close on the 4th April while the course itself will commence on the 9th April.
Getihu investment fund launched to support B2B SaaS startups: Founded by entrepreneurs Thomans Schmider and Ryan Paterson this fund has the aim of investing in scalable Business to Business (B2B) software applications. Although newly launched the fund has already made two investments into French startup DOZ and South African startup Hi5. Hi5 aims to assist companies to better manage their human resources by utilising a simple app allowing employees to populate and update their own personal information.
disrupt-africa.com, connectedafrica.com, startup365.fr
Bountly Job Platform launched: Recently launched into Cape Town, this start up aims to alleviate the high levels of unemployment that has characterised the South African job market for some time. The user-friendly app interface promises a personalised experience for the user whilst prompting job-hunters for the essential information required to populate their online CV. The founders of Bountly are already looking to expand the apps coverage into the Johannesburg and Durban areas. Watch this space.
capetownetc.com, zu.de, bountly.co
- Competitions for SA entrepreneurs. ventureburn.com
- Possibility of second level domain names for South Africa. mybroadband.co.za
- SA Government to launch 96 new ISPs. mybroadband.co.za
- South African Vinny Lingham ranked as one of the top 100 block-chain influences. rise.global
Interactive storytelling at the SXSW: The South by Southwest Conference in Austin, Texas, has shown that news and story writing could get a whole lot more immersive, and it could transform how people empathize with story subjects. Nonny de la Pena, a journalist telling stories in virtual reality, sees these new technologies as making people more empathetic to subjects. Infrared sensors are able to understand hand movements and turn them into actions. Cameras can read users‘ faces to determine their emotional state. Depending on the person’s reaction, the story is then adjusted to and personalized for the individual that it is told to.
Twitter loves lies: A new study finds that false information on the social media network Twitter travels six times faster than the truth and reaches far more people. Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology looked at more than 126,000 stories tweeted millions of times between 2006 and the end of 2016 — before US President Donald Trump took office but during the combative presidential campaign. They found that “fake news” sped through Twitter farther, faster, deeper and more broadly than the truth in all categories of information, according to the study in Thursday’s journal Science. Twitter funded the study but had no say in the outcome, according to the researchers.
AI: German politicians call for regulation: Tesla and SpaceX boss Elon Musk has doubled down on his dire warnings about the danger of artificial intelligence. The billionaire tech entrepreneur called AI more dangerous than nuclear warheads and said there needs to be a regulatory body overseeing the development of super intelligence, speaking at the South by Southwest tech conference in Austin, Texas. It is not the first time Musk has made frightening predictions about the potential of artificial intelligence — he has, for example, called AI vastly more dangerous than North Korea — and he has previously called for regulatory oversight. German Green party politician Dieter Janecek, however, cautioned against alarmist statements on AI. However, he said there was no doubt that there was a need to catch up with the technology regarding „important technical, criminal and liability issues“.
- Zalando replaces 250 jobs with AI drapersonline.com
- More diversity in Silicon Valley wired.com
- Google bans cryptocurrency-related adverts bbc.co.uk
- WWDC: Apple announces Annual Software Developer Conference 2018 bloomberg.com