•UNICEF Kenya representative Maniza Zaman describes the launch as a major step in furthering inclusive education through innovative technology for children in Kenya and beyond.
•As an initial step, special features for children with hearing, visual and intellectual disabilities was successfully piloted in schools during the first quarter of 2019.
An initiative to increase equitable access to digital literacy for children in Kenya has been launched.
The shared-value partnership by Nokia, the Finnish National Committee for the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and UNICEF Kenya hopes to unlock opportunities for digital learning and literacy among young learners.
The launch of the digital literacy project through offering diverse digital content is anticipated to stimulate pupils’ motivation and interest in learning.
The platform is also hoped to foster creative and critical competencies in the pupils by being sources of information and nurturing their interests.
The pact, launched during the Nairobi Innovation week, is expected to build on the government’s investment in the Digital Literacy Project which provided one million tablets to primary schools.
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 first quarter of 2019.
It will empower the most disadvantaged children to get quality education with the most powerful tool of the century – the internet.
The textbook was produced by Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development with the active involvement of disability stakeholders who infused different media-overlays with audio for children with visual impairment, simplified text for children with intellectual disabilities, and Kenya Sign Language video inserts for children with hearing impairment.
Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development chief executive Dr. Julius Jwan lauded the project that also encourages active participation of children with disabilities. Dr Jwan noted that it would also contribute to equitable access to digital literacy.
“This textbook provides quality digital content for children with disabilities on the Digital Literacy Project devices. This accessible digital course material is for Grade one in Environmental Activities and within the same platform caters for children with visually impairment, hearing impairment and intellectual disabilities,” he said at the launch during the Nairobi Innovation Week at The University of Nairobi.
Dr Jwan further noted that it also allowed learners without disabilities to access features like Kenya Sign Language videos, thereby contributing to inclusive education.
UNICEF Kenya representative Maniza Zaman described the launch of the partnership as a major step in furthering inclusive education through innovative technology for children in Kenya and beyond.
“UNICEF is working in partnership with the Government of Kenya and the private sector through innovative partnerships to empower the most disadvantaged children to get quality education with the most powerful tool of the century – the internet,” she said.
Nokia’s head of Marketing and Communications Middle East and Africa Joachim Wuilmet described the initiative as an investment in tech-savvy future leaders.
“Children are the leaders of the future, so we are excited to work with UNICEF and the Government to connect schools in remote areas to inspire tomorrow's leaders in Kenya. We are committed to using our technologies to meet the goals of sustainable development worldwide.
"We are committed to using our technologies to meet the goals of sustainable development worldwide," he concluded.