Today at the Clinton Global Initiative annual meeting, Cisco, Intel Corp., Microsoft Corp., the government of Kenya and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) announced a joint commitment to improve education in Kenya. Launched in collaboration with Kenya's Ministry of Education, the Accelerating 21st Century Education (ACE) project aims to improve the quality of primary and secondary education through the effective use of information and communications technology (ICT).
The parties are working together to develop a best-in-class model for deploying ICT in education. Reflecting a combined commitment valued at more than US $9 million, ACE will create "one-to-one e-learning" classrooms in 60 focus schools across Kenya.
ACE will deploy more than 6,000 networked computers for student and teacher use; train approximately 7,000 teachers to effectively integrate technology in the classroom; train technical support staff at each school to maintain the technology; deploy a wireless infrastructure within the schools; provide access to digital educational content; and develop the local ICT industry in Kenya to promote economic development and sustainability.
Commitment to Action Takes Holistic Approach to ICT in Education
The ACE project focuses on 40 secondary schools and 20 primary schools across Kenya. It will deploy 6,000 student personal computers (PCs), 120 teacher laptops, 60 servers and the supporting wireless infrastructure to establish two e-learning classrooms at each school.
The project will also train 2,000 teachers at the schools, as well as 5,000 pre-service teachers at teacher training colleges in Kenya. In addition, ACE will offer education leadership forums to help lead teachers at the participating schools define a strategy for creating 21st-century learning environments. Training will be provided through the Intel® Teach Program and the Microsoft Partners in Learning Program, which offer proven ways to integrate technology into the curriculum for enhanced classroom learning.
To promote a sustainable implementation of ICT in education, two instructors and one network administrator at each of the 60 schools will receive networking and IT training through the Cisco® Networking Academy®. The Networking Academy collaborates with educational institutions, governments and community-based organizations to provide students around the world with foundational ICT skills along with career skills such as problem solving, collaboration and critical thinking for increased access to career and economic opportunities.
ACE aligns closely with the goals of Kenya's Ministry of Education, which recently digitized its national curriculum. The project will provide digital content to help deploy the revamped curriculum, with an initial focus on math and science subjects for primary grades 4-6 and for the first two years of secondary education. As part of this effort, Intel and the Ministry will collaborate on developing localized content for the Intel® skooolT Learning and Teaching Technology, an interactive Internet resource for learning math and science. Microsoft is also working with the Ministry to develop a new education portal where teachers can access e-mail and online educational content.
Extending the Benefits of ICT in Education Investments
To encourage the sharing of knowledge related to tested best uses of technology in education, all of the key practices and methods learned from ACE will be captured in a School Technology Innovation Center (STIC) that Cisco, Intel and Microsoft have committed to establish in Nairobi.
To demonstrate the benefits of technology in the classroom, the STIC will feature 20 Intel-powered classmate PCs, networked via Cisco wireless infrastructure, and the latest software offerings from Microsoft, including the new Windows® 7 operating system. The classmate PC is an affordable, full-featured, compact and rugged student laptop designed to promote interactive and collaborative learning among students and teachers. The STIC will also feature other technology products that are well-suited to teaching and learning.