The ZEduPad – A Zambian Computer Tablet Taking Education To A New Height
Since 2001 the Zambian government has been working on an ambitious project that has seen enrollment into primary schools rise to more than 90%. This made World Bank recognize Zambia as one of the developing countries with the most improved primary school education. Prior to this, there was lack of sufficient funding to the public school education system in Zambia. Leading to the education system lagging behind the growth of the population. A situation that lead to more young people graduating from learning institutions but were not well trained or equipped to meet the standards of the job market: they were “half-baked graduates” so to speak.
This was largely attributed to the low quality of education especially in the public schools. As one of the tools to address this problem, the Zambian Ministry of Education approved the ZEduPad: a tablet that makes learning easier, faster and efficient for primary school children. The tablet comes with various features which are invaluable to the students learning as it helps them learn how to write and read. In addition to this, the tablet helps the students in learning how to setup their farm, thereby improve on the farming efficiency and in turn increase the family’s income and ability to send the children to school. The ZEduPad has proved to be efficient in helping particularly the primary school kids in getting their literacy and basic numeric skill improve immensely.
The ZEduPad comes preloaded with 8 different native Zambian languages. It also over 12,000 preloaded classes including the lesson plans. This is especially useful in the rural areas, in where more often than not, the teachers are untrained. More than $5 million dollars has been invested into the ZEduPad so far. The investment into the tablet is used to help ensure that it does achieve exactly what it was intended to, which is to help the untrained teachers deep within the remote, rural and bushy areas of Zambia. The ZEduPad has been tailor made to be suitable for interactive learning for students in Grade 1 – Grade 7: enabling the students to learn various subjects ranging from math, music, PE and arts.
Apart from the learning perspective of the ZEduPad tablet, it also gives the students a rare opportunity to hone their technology skills. According t the World Bank, Zambia has very limited broadband services, and only 18% of its 14 million population have an access to electricity. The ZEduPad tablet provides these students with the opportunity to advance themselves far as internet and technology use is concerned.