We are thrilled to announce our new partnerships with three amazing organizations – eKitabu, Rising Academies, and Learning Equality. We’ll be working alongside them in the months ahead to advance equitable educational solutions for the most marginalized learners. We’re excited to offer the Hub as a platform for amplifying their work – making new connections and fostering collaboration across thinkers and doers in education and edtech. After all, this is our sweet spot as a Hub, helping partners achieve exponential impact in improving learning outcomes for every student. (Speaking of our exponential ambitions, did you notice our new logo?)
Below is a quick glimpse at each partner and what they’ll be doing with our support. We’ll share more details about each one, key accomplishments, and what we are learning together in future posts.
eKitabu is committed to ensuring that all learners have access to high-quality, inclusive educational content. During the Covid-19 pandemic, their edutainment videos for early grade learners which include sign language, have aired during prime viewing hours on Kenya’s EDU TV. And since founding in 2012, eKitabu’s digital e-book content has reached more than 1,500 schools in all 47 counties in Kenya; and 13 African countries.
Our partnership with eKitabu will support two interventions aimed at improving the quality of education for learners with special needs. First, eKitabu will provide professional development to help teachers develop braille skills (reading and writing) to support learners with visual impairments. Second, eKitabu will expand its video content for deaf learners with a focus on literacy and social and emotional learning, in Kenya, and in new markets including Tanzania and Ghana.
At the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, Rising partnered with the governments in Sierra Leone and Liberia to broadcast educational radio to students during school closures. We are drawn to Rising’s commitment to using readily available technology that does not require access to the internet, helping to lessen the digital divide and giving all students access to educational content.
Soon after launching their radio programme, Rising developed a web portal to share openly available radio scripts, audio content and banks of pre-written text messages aimed at caregivers. So far, Rising On Air has reached more than 10 million children across 25 countries. Our support will allow Rising to expand the portal, develop practical ‘how to’ guidance to help partners adapt, tailor and implement radio programmes in different contexts, create guidelines for conducting research on the impact of radio programmes based on the insights they are already starting to gather, and to continue to expand its community of practice for governments and other partners who are using radio and SMS to deliver curriculum content to learners.
Learning Equality’s open-source educational platform, Kolibri, is specially designed to provide offline access to a curatable and openly licensed educational content library with tools for pedagogical support, targeting use in low-resource and low-connectivity contexts such as rural schools and refugee camps. Through our partnership with them, we hope to build a better understanding of how to develop learning products and tools in contexts where there is limited access to the internet.
With Hub support, Learning Equality will develop training materials that will make it easier for curriculum designers in different contexts to align digital learning resources to the national curriculum using the Kolibri Studio curricular tool. This would give them full control of their educational materials without necessarily needing direct support from Learning Equality. We hope generally, that this effort will increase access to and use of curriculum-aligned educational materials. Learning Equality will also be working to increase the availability of digital French content for learners in francophone countries.
Our partners are already hard at work designing and developing the tools and resources that will allow students to continue learning during the Covid-19 pandemic and beyond. We can’t wait to tell you more soon!