15,000 child refugees to benefit from Vodafone Foundation 'Instant Classroom'
Digital 'school in a box' created to bring tablet-based teaching to refugee camps.
Vodafone Foundation Instant Classroom takes 20 minutes to set up and can be used in classrooms without electricity.
To be deployed in partnership with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to 12 schools in Kenya, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo over next 12 months.
The Vodafone Foundation today announced the Instant Classroom, a digital ‘school in a box’ that can be set up in a matter of minutes, helping give children and young adults in some of the world’s largest and poorly resourced refugee camps the opportunity to continue their education.
The Vodafone Foundation Instant Classroom has been specifically designed for areas where electricity and internet connectivity are unreliable or non-existent and will be deployed in partnership with UNHCR’s Innovation and Education units.
The Instant Classroom is shipped in a secure and robust 52kg case which is equipped with a laptop, 25 tablets pre-loaded with educational software, a projector, a speaker and a hotspot modem with 3G connectivity. The tablets can connect to the laptop locally, enabling teachers to deliver content and applications to students without the need to access the internet.
All the components of the Vodafone Foundation Instant Classroom can be charged simultaneously from a single power source while the case is locked. After 6-8 hours of charging time, the Instant Classroom can be used for a full day in a classroom without access to electricity.
Over the next year, the Vodafone Foundation Instant Classroom will be deployed to 12 schools in refugee settlements in Kakuma in Kenya, in the Nyarungusu refugee settlement in Tanzania and in the Equatorial Region in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Instant Classroom will this year provide up to 15,000 children and young adults aged from 7 to 20 with advanced teaching aids that are currently only available in a minority of schools in developed nations.
The Instant Classroom builds on the Vodafone Foundation’s experience with tablet-based learning programmes. In 2014, the Vodafone Foundation worked with UNHCR’s Education and Innovation units to develop the Instant Network Schools programme, which introduced tablet-based learning to around 18,000 pupils in the Dadaab refugee settlement in northern Kenya. Teachers at the Dadaab schools said the tablet-based lessons have been so popular that pupil attendance had increased by an average of 15 per cent.
Over the next two years, the Vodafone Foundation Instant Network Schools programme will be extended to support additional schools in refugee camps in Kenya, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo with the aim to reach more than 40,000 children and young people.
Vodafone Foundation Director Andrew Dunnett said: “At the end of 2013, UNHCR estimates that there were 50 million refugees and displaced people worldwide, half of who are under the age of 18. With refugees displaced from their homes for an average of 17 years, many have little or no access to education. The Vodafone Foundation Instant Classroom is robust, simple and powerful. It puts the best technology that educators have to offer into the hands of children and young people living in the toughest of environments.”
UNHCR Innovation Lead Olivier Delarue said: “In the face of increasingly complex humanitarian crises, UNHCR is tasked with finding new, creative ways to meet the developmental and educational needs of young refugees and stateless people worldwide. We welcome the opportunity to work with the Vodafone Foundation to find innovations that work in the refugee context. Innovation for us is not about developing educational products; rather it is about using technologies that partners like Vodafone Foundation have to offer as a new way of identifying and testing solutions to enhance educational opportunities.”
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Pictures of Vodafone Foundation Instant Classroom can be downloaded here:
A short film which shows the Instant Classroom equipment being set up can be viewed here;
Vodafone is one of the world’s largest telecommunications companies and provides a range of services including voice, messaging, data and fixed communications. Vodafone has mobile operations in 26 countries, partners with mobile networks in 54 more, and fixed broadband operations in 17 markets. As of 31 December 2014, Vodafone had 444 million mobile customers and 11.8 million fixed broadband customers. For more information, please visit: www.vodafone.com
About Vodafone Foundation
The Vodafone Foundation's Mobile for Good programme combines Vodafone's charitable giving and technology to make a difference in the world. Globally, the Vodafone Foundation supports projects that are focused on delivering public benefit through the use of mobile technology across the areas of health, education and disaster relief. The Vodafone Foundation invests in the communities in which Vodafone operates and is at the centre of a network of global and local social investment programmes. The Vodafone Foundation is a UK registered charity, registered charity number 10989625.
About UNHCR and UNHCR Innovation
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees was established on December 14, 1950 by the United Nations General Assembly. The agency is mandated to lead and co-ordinate international action to protect refugees and resolve refugee problems worldwide. Its primary purpose is to safeguard the rights and well-being of refugees. It strives to ensure that everyone can exercise the right to seek asylum and find safe refuge in another State, with the option to return home voluntarily, integrate locally or to resettle in a third country. Providing access to quality education is a core component of UNHCR’s protection mandate.
UNHCR Innovation is a multi-departmental unit established within UNHCR to work collaboratively with refugees, academia, and the private sector to creatively address challenges faced by uprooted or stateless people worldwide. UNHCR Innovation aims to empower staff to work together with refugee communities to design innovative solutions to the challenges they face.