Samsung Managing Director Seok Min Hong looks at one of the tablets deployed for the accelerated learning program
Samsung Managing Director Seok Min Hong looks at one of the tablets deployed for the accelerated learning program

Samsung East Africa and the Safaricom Foundation on Saturday, November 21 launched a partnership to support the accelerated learning program in Bungoma County.

The accelerated learning program, an initiative of the Zizi Afrique Foundation, aims to help learners lagging behind in class to acquire foundational literacy and numeracy skills in a short amount of time. A 2018 survey in three counties indicated that that 1 out of 2 of all children between 6 and 16 years assessed could not read a short text pegged on grade 2 level.

The program was launched at an event in Matumbufu Primary school, Bungoma County. It is also being implemented Tana River and Turkana counties.

40 schools from each county will take part in the program which incorporates both school and community-based approaches.

Thanks to Samsung East Africa, about 1,250 learners will access Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) approved curriculum using 250 Samsung Galaxy 8.0 tablets during the program.

Samsung MD Seok Min Hong (left) poses at a ceremony to launch the accelerated learning program in Bungoma County on November 21, 2020

In the community-based approach, teachers will take on 25 learners for each session. The learning sessions known as camps will run for 30 days, comprising of three ten-day cycles.

The launch event in Bungoma was attended by, among others, Samsung MD. Mr. Seok Min Hong, Safaricom Foundation Chairman Mr. Joe Ogutu, Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) Chairperson Dr. Sara Ruto and CEO Prof. Charles Ong’odo, as well as Executive Director of Zizi Afrique Foundation, Dr. John Mugo. Also, in attendance was Hon. Dr.Betty Mayeku, County Executive Committee Member (CECM), Education.

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Samsung MD Min Hong observed that digital tools and education could not be separated in the modern era.

“Technology has transformed many sectors including education. Tools such as mobile learning, cloud computing, and gamification are dynamically changing the learning experience. When a child does not have access to education, it means that they are not operating in an equal competitive environment with other children and are potentially a step behind in life.

“This gap is reason as to why we are supporting the Accelerated Learning Program in order ensure that our children are well equipped for the future,” he stated.

John Mugo, director of Zizi Afrique, noted that the program would help engage learners in productive activities even with schools closed.

The prolonged closure of schools due to the Covid-19 pandemic saw numerous learners drop out of school for various reasons; including to focus on income-generating ventures.

“In the wake of COVID-19, we have come to appreciate the role that technology can play in sustaining learning. These tablets will support us not only to accelerate the learning of those left behind, and families who would never have dreamt of holding a tablet, but will also help safeguard some children of Bungoma from the massive learning loss occasioned by the prolonged school closure. We are really grateful to Samsung,” he stated.

Safaricom Foundation Chairman Joe Ogutu also welcomed the partnership, maintaining that it would take collective effort to raise education standards in the country.

“Our investments in education aim to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for Kenyans. However, we understand that we cannot do this on our own and that partnerships are key for us to achieve our ambition.

“That is why we are proud to be partnering with Samsung to ensure the Accelerated Learning Programme reaches even more learners in Bungoma County,” he asserted.

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