Note From CEO – January 2016 Newsletter Issue

Dear friends,

Good news to begin 2016:  schools are buying digital content now.  Yes.  Digital content from Kenyan publishers, KICD-approved for use in Kenyan schools, is moving.  Schools with computing devices already—both public and private, primary and secondary, in Nairobi and the mashinani—are buying Kenyan content for teaching and learning.  Schools, and NGOs investing in schools, are also buying new devices, pre-loaded with ebooks from eKitabu.

We have not arrived at a promised land flowing with digital milk and money.  But we can find encouragement in recent progress of the Government of Kenya Digital Literacy Programme, also called “Digischool,” planned for national rollout this year.  eKitabu has begun 2016 only more committed, better informed, and better equipped to deliver content for schools, results for publishers, and impact for all.

In fact, Digischool offers a critical opportunity to bolster success of Kenyan education that is inextricable from the success of Kenyan publishing.

Do you want proof?

Then check out Tony Read’s excellently researched “Where Have All the Textbooks Gone? : Toward sustainable provision of teaching and learning materials in Sub-Saharan Africa,” published last July. (Click here for the free ebook)

“Since the 1960s there has been considerable research by academics and development partners into the factors affecting school effectiveness and improved student achievement in both developed and developing countries. In 1978 Heyneman and Farrell reviewed and summarized a number of earlier research studies from different countries and drew the following broad conclusion:  ‘From the evidence that we have so far, the availability of textbooks appears to be the single most consistently positive factor in predicting educational achievement.  In 15 out of the 18 studies (83%) it is positive. This is, for example, more favourable than 13 out of 24 (54%) recently reported for teacher training.’” (p. 19)

Read goes on to cite study after study up through 2003 that affirms the critical impact of textbooks on student achievement.

In 2015 eKitabu, in cooperation with KPA and at the request of MOE, delivered digital course books, readers, and supplementary materials to all four counties in the 2015 Digischool Pilot.  We did this at no cost to the government.  We protected all the materials from piracy for the sustainable future of Kenyan publishing.  And by loading the content directly on the devices we ensured that each school, regardless of its location or ability to connect to Internet, would have equal access to the same high quality teaching and learning materials.  You can review the official delivery report here.

We hope in 2016 to support the greater success of Digischool with Kenyan educational materials—preloaded on all Digischool devices to ensure equal access for all schools countrywide.

If, in cooperation with public and private sector actors, we can make this happen in 2016 the year and the future will be brighter for all.

Yours most sincerely,

Will Clurman
CEO
eKitabu