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[March 02, 2014]
Microsoft, Intel launch new learning device for Youth in Africa [Nation (Kenya)]
(Nation (Kenya) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Learners in Kenya will start owning affordable digital devices aimed at equipping them with critical ICT skills.
Through a programme known as 4Afrika Youth Device, the youth will access affordable ICT devices with educational applications, online services, affordable data plans, and financing.
The programme is a brainchild of Microsoft in association with Intel Corporation East Africa and the Kenya Private Schools Association (KPSA).
"Through the programme's pilot in Kenya, we want to equip the 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," says Patrick Onwumere, Microsoft 4Afrika Youth Enablement director.
The initiative, unveiled last Friday, was part of Microsoft 4Afrika's Youth Programme that launched earlier this year to provide scholarships, fellowships, and internships to youth in Africa.
The programme will start in Kenya. It will later be rolled out in other selected African countries, including Egypt, South Africa, and Nigeria.
KPSA Chief Executive Officer, Peter Ndoro, said the initiative would supplement the government's efforts to improve ways of learning.
"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 in helping to provide a wholesome, quality, education to our students. We are committed to integrate ICT in our schools with an aim of providing quality, holistic, basic education," he said.
The devices, based on Intel architecture, are purpose-built for education. They are student-friendly designs that are water and dust resistant to promote what the makers are referring to as "anytime, anywhere learning".
Students will also be given finance options, such as loans from Kenya's Equity Bank and M-Changa. The latter is a mobile money-based way to contribute towards the purchase of devices. Special data packages from mobile service provider, Safaricom, will consist of 5 gigabyte and 10 gigabyte bundles.
"Technology can be transformative, driving student achievement and lifelong learning. The devices under the programme are part of the flexible, holistic Intel education solutions that includes a range of devices from tablets to laptops, software, content, services and professional development for teachers," said Intel Corporation East Africa business development manager Alex Twinomugisha.
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