For far too long, there have been complaints on inequality in the provision of quality education to all the Kenyan students. Students from the developed parts of the country appear to have an easy time taking their studies. They have access to books, consistent power supply and other resources that make it possible for them to study. This is normally reflected by the stellar grades they score whenever they take their exams. Unfortunately, those from the under developed areas and belong to low income earning families are faced with a myriad of problems that make it hard for them to study. Some opt to drop out when they have it hard studying and this sharply raises the illiteracy level. Few books, teachers who are unwilling to teach students in the harsh environments, intermittent power supply are some of the problems that compound their woes.
A solution had to be found to realize equality in provision of quality education hence uniformity in development in the country. This solution has now been provided by BRCK Education-a division of the local technology firm BRCK- which has today launched a new value priced tablet dubbed BRCK-Kio.
This is a tablet that is easy to use and has been designed for use by standard one pupils especially those from the harsh environments where there is no consistent power supply. It is custom made where local content is uploaded and consistently updated to be in line with the country’s curriculum. The tablet is part of a portable kit known as the BRCK-kio kit that is made up of 40 tablets. Both the Kit and the tablet have some really interesting features designed to ensure that study runs uninterrupted and makes it possible for kids to learn, play and grow whenever they use them.
Features of a BRCK tablet
a) Wireless charging- Kids are only required to plug in the tablets in the portable kit and they automatically start charging as long as the kit is connected to a power supply.
b) Hardened to avoid breakage- The tablets are designed in such a way that even if they fall from a height of about 70cm, they are hard to break. These tablets are designed for young ones and accidental drops are expected.
c) Long durations of use- After charging, these tablets can go for about 8 hours without re-charging. 8 hours is the typical duration students spend in schools.
d) Water and dust resistance- Kids will want to play and still use these devices while studying. The BRCK kio tablet is designed to ensure that it is not affected by occasional spills and dirt whenever kids are using them.
Features of a BRCK-kio Kit
a) Portability-This kit is easy and convenient to carry.
b) Storage- A typical class has forty students. The kit is designed to accommodate forty kits for the students present in a class.
c) Onboard power- The kit has a single plug from where it can be charged. It also has one button to power the entire system that contains the forty tablets.
d) Simplicity- BRCK kio kit is simple and requires minimal training or technical knowledge to set up and use.
e) Security- These kits have hardened and lockable cases to enhance security. If for instance a kio tablet is stolen, it is designed in such a way that it automatically fails to work thus it cannot benefit the person who takes it away.
f) Ruggedized to both dust and water- These kits are rugged enough for occasional spills and drops.
Speaking at the launch of the BRCK Education, BRCK president, Nivi Mukherjee said that the BRCK-Kio will raise students curiosity to learn and understand rather than just memorize education content. She added that “The BRCK-kio will transform the role of the teacher from an instructor to a facilitator”. This will have an impact on how education is delivered here in Kenya and across Africa and in the developing countries.
On the other hand, BRCK CEO, Erick Hersman said that the kit is uniquely designed for the African continent where local and culturally relevant digital content will be uploaded to make the kids’ learning experience interesting.
BRCK Education has partnered with organisations such as Kenyatta University, Pearson, Intel-Education, e-Limu, Know Zone and e-kitabu to make it possible to access relevant digital content. Chase bank, which has entered into an agreement with BRCK Education, will provide credit facilities to schools that may need to acquire these kits which are available for pre-order starting 1st of October. They will be available for the general public starting January in 2016. A BRCK kio kit will go for $5000 while a BRCK kio tablet will go for $99.
African problems require African solutions. This has initiated plans to have the assembly of both the BRCK kit and BRCK tablet relocated to Kenya to cut on costs and make it possible for many people to afford this technology that promises to revolutionize how education is provided. Assembly of these kits and tablets here in Kenya will also instil an engineering culture in the people of Kenya. This will help in solving the African problems.