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  • With Dubai Cares, the Aga Khan Foundation (AKF) in East Africa is integrating information and communications technology (ICT) into its programming.
    AKDN / Lucas Cuervo Moura
Aga Khan Foundation
Bridging the digital divide in education

How to harness the power of ICT to transform student learning and teacher professional development in Kenya and Uganda.

The Aga Khan Foundation, in partnership with Dubai Cares and the governments of Kenya and Uganda, recently completed a ground-breaking programme in understanding how best to leverage education technologies (EdTech) to enhance learning outcomes in some of the most marginalised classrooms in the world. The US$ 1.8 million joint EdTech programme has benefited more than 100,000 learners and 1,200 teachers across 100 schools in Kenya and Uganda.

The joint EdTech programme made significant strides in bridging the ever-growing digital divide currently plaguing most classrooms within the East African context. For example, teachers were given new, globally informed, but locally rooted professional development training about how best to integrate technology into their pedagogical schemes of work and promote 21st century learning environments for all. Students, themselves, were able to explore newly developed ICT hardware and software that promoted reading and comprehension through locally developed, contextually relevant materials at scale.

Rupert Corbishley, Regional Education Advisor for Aga Khan Foundation East Africa said: “The Dubai Cares-AKF partnership has not only had real and meaningful impact on children’s learning outcomes throughout the region, but has also informed the future direction of how best to use ICT to better strengthen local and global education ecosystems in a number of ways.”

First, the Dubai Cares-AKF joint programme contributed to a new, co-authored global report by AKF and 17 UNICEF country offices in Sub-Saharan Africa, called ‘Raising Learning Outcomes: The Challenges and Opportunities of ICT for Learning’; outlining key lessons about ‘what works, for whom’ in leveraging EdTech for improved learning outcomes. The report has since been shared across all 190 UNICEF country offices and is being used to better equip country-level decision-makers with new evidence and insights about how to meaningfully use EdTech in real-world classrooms for improving learning at scale.

Second, the Dubai Cares-AKF joint programme contributed to the co-design of a new digital education information app called PROMISE3 – the Programme Management Information System for Education by Everywhere, Everywhere - that will now offer local education stakeholders with the means to better collect, analyse and act on real-time data related to educational enrolment, attendance and learning outcomes through both online and offline digital platforms. Cambridge University recently published a case study about how the design of PROMISE3 adopted human centred design principles at scale and was featured at the 2018 Global Education Skills Forum in Dubai.

Third, the outcomes of the Dubai Cares-AKF partnership will now inform a new, 10-year, 10-country longitudinal global action research programme called Schools2030 that will seek to further understand why some schools are succeeding ‘against the odds’ and amplify local champions of education innovations, including EdTech, to better inform the future of global educational research, practice and policy.

Abdulrahman Bader Alzuebi, Programmes Officer at Dubai Cares said: “The importance of the programme stems from the increasing interest in including technology as part of the teaching and learning methods. The ability to test this model in Kenya and Uganda helps us to understand the specificities of implementation in different contexts. This also shows the opportunities that technology can provide in improving the teaching and learning experience at the school level. We are very proud to support Aga Khan Foundation in implementing such an insightful programme that helps in shaping the learning sphere in Kenya and Uganda.”

[More about the Aga Khan Foundation]