The government will work with all stakeholders in education and technology to achieve sustainable learning as the Kenya EdTech summit kicked off in Nairobi.
Representing the Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Mr Francis Karanja, the head of the national ICT Innovation and Integration Centre, said the partnership is key in advancing this agenda.
"We cannot achieve this alone. We need collaboration with other partners to ensure improvement of education technology infrastructure," he said.
He reiterated the importance of education technology in steering development.
EdTech East Africa CEO and co-founder, Jennifer Cotter-Otieno cited the transformative power of technology in improving learning outcomes. She said the focus should be on ensuring inclusivity. "How can we design inclusive tools to ensure all learners are benefitting equitably?" she posed. "These are some of the things the summit is discussing, as well as sharing learnings of what is working."
The summit saw creators of mobile education apps share their innovations and impact in enhancing digital learning experiences. Such include M-shule, an SMS knowledge-building platform helping organisations to deliver Learning, Evaluation, Activation, and Data tools across East Africa; and M-Lugha, an offline mother tongue-based learning mobile application, which has 20 indigenous languages, 3 of which have been approved by the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development.
Education technology is an increasingly common discourse worldwide, with conversations focusing on how technology and data can improve teaching and learning.
This follows disruptions to physical learning worldwide at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020; an experience that brought into sharper focus need to expand digitally-enabled teaching and learning.
The Kenya EdTech Summit 2022 brings together public and private sector influencers to discuss how to move Kenya's education technology (EdTech) ecosystem forward towards greater digitally-enabled teaching and learning. It marks the beginning of a journey towards remedying the challenges stifling application of education technologies.
Surveys by different stakeholders in 2020, among them the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development, Uwezo Citizen-Led Assessment, and Policy and Strategy Unit in the Office of the President, established a set of common challenges limiting application of EdTechs in Kenya.
They include lack of digital infrastructure and connectivity; lack of confidence by teachers and pedagogical leaders to support mainstream and special-needs learners with technology; lack of data to inform instruction and decision making; lack of access to or knowledge of safe, relevant digital content; and gaps in inclusion and equity in education for learners across Kenya.
Similar challenges were noted in 2021 during the development of the new Kenyan Policy for ICT in Education and Training.
The EdTech summit is organised by EdTech East Africa in partnership with Mastercard Foundation, Acumen East Africa, Imaginable Futures and EdTech Hub. It is being hosted at the Centre for Mathematics, Science and Technology Education in Africa (CEMESTEA), in Nairobi.
The participants represent diverse stakeholders needed to realise the potential of digital teaching and learning in Kenya and co-design a collective way forward for the country. They include policy makers, entrepreneurs, innovative implementers of EdTech solutions, researchers, private sector donors and investors, development partners, digital infrastructure providers, media, academia, community leaders, and education and EdTech ecosystem builders.
A highlight of the two-day event is the official launch of a common agenda - the EdTech Collective Action Framework - on November 24.