It has now become old news that Africa faces several challenges in offering quality education opportunities due to various reasons like poverty, political instability, corruption, terrorism etc. But what is making news today is the growing use of technology to offer easily accessible education to African children. Currently more than 40 kids started learning by using tablets inside a transformed shipping container in one of the low-income regions of Kenya, under the guidance of their teachers.
Technology And Education
Although primary public education has been free across Kenya since 2003, the costs of study materials and school uniforms prove to be rather expensive for parents. This is why the Lighthouse Grace Academy in Nairobi launched a new academic initiative for expanding the use of technology in learning and helping the students. BRCK Education was recently launched in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya to deal with the problems related to education in the country. However, there are still some problems including limited access to technology, unstable electricity supply, high for mobile data and technological illiteracy.
BRCK: An Education Solution
The initiative offers the BRCK Kio Kit which includes the effective BRCK device, durable tablets and a simple toughened suitcase which also acts as a charger after the tablets get stored. It includes only a single charging cable and a on/off switch. When the BRCK is switched on, it uses a micro-cloud or web server which is an “offline version of the internet.” It offers a similar interactive and rich content like the web, but without the need to pay for high data costs. It is empowered through the BRCK with an extra Raspberry Pi computer connected to the device.
One of the most beneficial features of this smart assemblage of modern technology, mixed with entrepreneurial spirit, is the manner in which it is designed to allow both educators and kids who are not used to technology to learn effectively. The content is preloaded and is available in 5 content suppliers, of which 4 are from Kenya and also from education firm Pearsons.
A Clever Device
In a recent Forbes article, globally reputed reporter Toby Shapshak wrote “BRCK is a clever internet device designed for the particular challenges faced by African consumers (including Kenya’s notorious power cuts) when when trying to get online. BRCK – which has attracted funding from the Case Foundation, amongst others – is the brainchild of a group of entrepreneurs in the thriving Nairobi tech start-up scene, including Erik Hersman, the co-founder of Kenya’s other great tech success story, Ushahidi. US President Barack Obama enthusiastically praised Kenya’s renowned entrepreneurial spirit.”
BRCK was founded by Philip Walton, Hersman and Reg Orton in 2013 as a part of Ushahidi. It easily exceeded their Kickstarter campaign target of $125,000 in the same year and went on to gather $170,000. The firm is now set to close its Series A funding. The ruggedised device was actually developed to deal with connectivity problems across Africa. BRCK aims to deal with education challenges for more than 410 million school children below the age of 14 in Africa. According to a UN report, this figure is expected to rise to 800 million school children by 2050.
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