The Vodafone Foundation wants to promote education by introducing a new instant classroom that will be made available to areas with large numbers of refugees where learning has been one of the major challenges, with a special focus for camps in Kenya, Tanzania and the DRC.
With these countries being a host to many refugees, there has been the problem of availing resources to the growing number of people always streaming in through the boarders to seek refuge and this has resulted to poor living conditions that organisations are trying to improve.
Now in partnership with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Vodafone Foundation is launching what it is calling a digital school in a box, or the Instant Classroom, to 12 schools in the three countries over a period of the next 12 months and promises to be vital to places with no electricity or where there is cuts.
Vodafone Instant Classroom will come in a case that will be host to a laptop, 25 tablets that will have educational software pre-installed, a projector, a speaker as well as a hotspot modem with support for 3G connectivity to give the children an opportunity to also be included in quality information distribution.
Since the places that will have the classroom deployed have unreliable electricity or non-existent altogether, the system has been built to allow charging while the case is closed for about 6 to 8 hours, after which the instant classroom can be used to teach for a full day without requiring the need for further charging.
Aimed at being beneficial to 15,000 children and youths of ages from 7 to 20, the advanced teaching aids that Vodafone says are only available in minority of schools in developed nations, are set be availed in Kenya’s Kakuma, Tanzania’s Nyarungusu and in the Equatorial region in the DRC.
The move comes after the foundation successfully deployed tablet-based systems in Kenya’s Dadaab refugee camp in 2014 to be used by around 18,000 people; a development that teachers say had increased the number of pupils attending schools up to 15 per cent.
Commenting on the new programme, Andrew Dunnett, the Vodafone Foundation Director said, “The Vodafone Foundation Instant Classroom is robust, simple and powerful. It puts the best technology that educators have to offer into the hands of children and young people living in the toughest of environments.”
According to UNHCR , it is estimated that there were 50 million refugees and displaced people worldwide by the end of 2013, half of who are under the age of 18 which has contributed to the most people not having access to any education or even the motivation to learn.
Through the Instant Classroom project and other projects to come to additional schools in the three nations in the aim to connect more refugees to education, Vodafone Foundation hopes to reach more than, 40,000 children and youths over the next two years.
“Innovation for us is not about developing educational products; rather it is about using technologies that partners like Vodafone Foundation have to offer as a new way of identifying and testing solutions to enhance educational opportunities,” said Olivier Delarue, Innovation Lead at UNHCR.
The digital school in a box was unveiled at the Mobile World Congress 2015 and once shipped will take schools 20 minutes to set up, with the technology being hoped to provide the refugees with an opportunity to start their own businesses whenever they can.