NAIROBI, Kenya — March 3, 2014 — Microsoft Corp., in association with Intel Corporation East Africa and the Kenya Private Schools Association (KPSA), on Monday announced the launch of the 4Afrika Youth Device Program to provide a bundle of affordable devices, educational applications, online services, affordable data plans and smart financing to Kenyan learning institutions. This will deliver an immersive learning experience to institutions of primary, secondary and higher education at an affordable rate.
The 4Afrika Youth Device initiative is part of the Microsoft 4Afrika Youth Program, which was unveiled earlier this year to provide scholarships, fellowships and internship opportunities to thousands of African youth. The device program will be piloted in Kenya with plans to expand to the rest of Africa including South Africa, Egypt and Nigeria. It aims to promote digital inclusion among Africa’s youth and educators across the continent, providing them with affordable access to the latest devices and services on the Microsoft platform coupled with popular learning applications.
“Through the program’s pilot in Kenya, we want to equip youth with critical 21st century ICT skills that will contribute to the growth of Kenya’s knowledge economy and facilitate the use of e-government services,” said Patrick Onwumere, director of youth enablement for Microsoft 4Afrika. The devices on offer include Windows-powered smartphones, tablets, laptops and PCs. “The biggest value the Microsoft platform brings is our ability to offer a wide range of devices that deliver a connected experience across platforms and the services we provide,” said Onwumere.
Microsoft under the 4Afrika initiative is currently piloting three TV white spaces projects on the continent to deliver low-cost, high-speed, broadband Internet access to schools in Tanzania, Kenya and South Africa.
Microsoft has also partnered with Intel to offer training for teachers on information and communications technology (ICT) integration via the Intel Teach curriculum and Microsoft’s Teaching With Technology course, which leads to the Microsoft Certified Educator certification. “Our goal is not only to offer a range of affordable devices with educational applications and online services, but to deliver experiences that students and educators love through strategic cost of ownership and training and support for the education partner ecosystem,” said Onwumere.
“At Intel, we believe the right technology can be transformative, driving student achievement and lifelong learning. That’s why we are focused on designing tools that bring learning to life, helping to make students more engaged. The devices under the program are part of the flexible, holistic Intel Education Solutions that includes a range of devices from tablets to laptops to two-in-ones, software, content services and professional development for teachers. We are committed to working closely with the Kenya Private Schools Association to promote digital education for the 21st century,” said Alex Twinomugisha, business manager, Intel Corporation East Africa.
“These devices based on Intel Architecture are purpose-built for education, are student-friendly rugged designs that can withstand dropping off a desk (from 70 cm), and provide water resistance and dust resistance to promote anytime, anywhere learning. The devices all come with Intel Education Software, a suite of eLearning tools including the newly launched Intel Explore and Learn, designed to promote deeper engagement with content, plus apps that enable science exploration, data analysis and promote creativity. These devices are available from a number of manufacturers and will be distributed locally by Mitsumi Distribution, one of Africa’s largest ICT distributors,” added Twinomugisha.
The 4Afrika Youth Device bundle also includes tailored data offerings from Safaricom, consisting of 5 gigabyte and 10 gigabyte packages for PCs and laptops. Financing will be available through Kenyan institutions in a variety of formats, including bank loans from Equity Bank and contributions through M-Changa, a mobile money-based way to contribute toward the purchase of the devices.
“We would like to thank our partners Microsoft, Intel, M-Changa, Equity and Safaricom, who have come together to help us supplement the government’s efforts in providing quality and affordable devices for use in e-learning,” said Peter Ndoro, CEO of KPSA. “The choice of Microsoft applications, including the latest and most security-enhanced versions of Windows 8.1 and Office 365, and content from Intel and other parties, will go a long way in providing a wholesome, quality education to our students. Kenya Private Schools Association is committed to integrate ICT in our schools with an aim of providing quality, holistic basic education.”
Devices on offer
Devices on offer include the following:
• iSurf Windows Tablet and Detachable Tablet
• iSurf Windows Educator Laptop
• iSurf Windows Portable
• Acer Iconia W511
• ASUS Transformer Book
• Samsung ATIV Tab 3
• Windows 8-powered Nokia smartphones
• Intel Classmate PC
Educational applications include the following:
• Intel Explore & Learn
• Intel Classmate
• Khan Academy suite, a personalized learning solution providing more than 100,000 exercise problems and over 4,000 micro-lectures via video tutorials, digital books and educational games
• Microsoft Office 365 including PowerPoint, Excel and Word delivered via cloud-based services
• Skype in the classroom
• Digital books
• Educational games
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