Microsoft, in association with Intel Corporation East Africa and the Kenya Private Schools Association (KPSA), has announced the launch of the 4Afrika Youth Device program meant to enable schools and students own devices through more flexible payment options.
Through the programme, learning institutions and students will be get access to affordable devices, educational applications, online services, affordable data plans, and smart financing to Kenyan learning institutions.
Specifically tailored finance options will also be provided through loans from Equity Bank and M-Changa, a mobile money-based platform to contribute finances towards a common cause.
Special data packages from Safaricom will also be provided, consisting of 5 gigabyte and 10 gigabyte bundles.
"Through the programme's pilot in Kenya, we want to equip youth with critical 21st century ICT skills that will contribute to the growth of Kenya's knowledge economy and facilitate the use of eGovernment services," said Patrick Onwumere, Microsoft 4Afrika Youth Enablement director.
The devices on offer include Windows-powered smartphones, tablets, laptops and PCs, "The biggest value the Microsoft platform brings is our ability to offer a wide range of devices that deliver a connected experience across platforms and the services we provide," said Onwumere.
"Our goal is not only to offer a range of affordable devices with educational applications and online services, but to deliver experiences that students and educators love through strategic cost of ownership, and training and support for the education partner ecosystem," added Onwumere.
Devices on offer include as part of the programme - which range from Kshs 30,000 to 50,000 - include iSurf Windows Portable, Acer Iconia W511, Asus Transformer book, Samsung ATIV TAB 3, Windows 8 powered Nokia smartphones and the Intel Classmate PC.
They come pre-installed with educational applications including Intel Explore & Learn and the Khan Academy suite - a personalised learning solution providing over 100,000 exercise problems and over 4 000 micro lectures via video tutorials, digital books and educational games. Others are Office 365 including PowerPoint, Excel, Word as well as Skype in the classroom, digital books and educational games.
KPSA CEO, Peter Ndoro, said: "The choice of Microsoft applications including the latest and most secure versions of Windows 8.1 and Office 365, and content from Intel and other parties will go a long way assisting to provide a wholesome, quality, education to our students. KPSA is committed to integrate ICT in our schools with an aim of providing quality, holistic, basic education."
"At Intel, we believe the right technology can be transformative, driving student achievement and lifelong learning. The devices under the program are part of the flexible, holistic Intel Education Solutions that includes a range of devices from tablets to laptops to 2 in 1s, software, content, services and professional development for teachers," said Alex Twinomugisha, Business Development Manager, Intel Corporation East Africa.
"These devices based on Intel Architecture are purpose built for education, are student-friendly rugged designs that can withstand dropping off a desk (from 70 cm) and provide water-resistance and dust-resistance to promote anytime, anywhere learning. The devices all come with Intel Education Software, a suite of eLearning tools including the newly launched Intel Explore and Learn, designed to promote deeper engagement with content, plus apps that enable science exploration, data analysis and promote creativity. These devices are available from a number of manufacturers and will be distributed locally by Mitsumi Distribution, "added Twinomugisha.
The device acquisition programme is part of Microsoft 4Afrika's Youth Program that launched earlier this year to provide scholarships, fellowships, and internships to thousands of African youth. The Device Program will start in Kenya, and will look to roll out in further African countries including Egypt, South Africa, and Nigeria. The aim is to equip youth with 21st century skills and promote digital inclusion amongst Africa's youth and educators across the continent.
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