Mar 24, 2017 Last Updated 10:30 AM, Mar 24, 2017

“Computer Labs for the Blind” launches in Kenya

ABN – InAble, AccessKenya and the Rockefeller Foundation have partnered to provide “Computer Labs for the Blind” in Siaya County.

The assistive learning technologies will be installed at the St. Oda Primary and Secondary School for the Blind.

Around 350 students are expected to benefit from the technology, which seeks to provide those with visual impairments with basic computer skills.

Students will be taught how to access the Internet and online education content in the hopes of developing skills that will make them employable.

InAble executive director Irene Mbari Kirika said: “The scarcity of facilities and human capital for the blind and visually impaired have for a long time meant that they cannot compete equally with their sighted peers.

“They either find it difficult to start an education or complete the same under challenging conditions that make it impossible to build a foundation for self-reliance and contribution to the community, pushing them into begging and other forms of activities for their survival.

 “Braille textbooks happen to be bulky and expensive, requiring up to four or more students to share a single book, presenting a challenge in imparting knowledge to the students.

“For instance, whereas the cost of books required by a Form 4 student costs about Sh7,060 (US$71.9) it would cost slightly over Sh61,000 in braille which is way out of reach for very many Kenyans.”

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AccessKenya to improve Kenyan education

ABN – AccessKenya has partnered with the Global e-Schools and Communities Initiatives (GESCI) to improve the quality of teaching in Kenya.

The partnership will focus on Science, Technology, English and Mathematics (STEM) education in Kenyan schools.

It is feared that STEM education is on the decline in Secondary Schools in the country.

The Strengthening Innovation and Practice in Secondary Education (SIPSE) project will train teachers to integrate technology into their lessons to engage students.

Esther Wachira, the SIPSE project coordinator, said: “Students are struggling to understand important science and mathematics concepts thus accounting for low enrolments in Science, Technology and Mathematics related courses in universities.”

A pilot programme was launched in two schools in 2014 and has benefitted 60 teachers so far.

Wachira added: “Part of the curriculum has seen teachers learn how to incorporate videos in teaching of chemistry and biology classes, as well as learning how to stream educational content straight into the classrooms including academic exchanges with their peers abroad.”

AccessKenya Marketing and Communications manage Emily Kinuthia added: “This is a matter of sustainable socio-economic development.

“For instance there exists a huge shortfall of qualified Information Technology professionals in Kenya with the requisite skills to tackle key issues in the sector such as cyber security.”

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