BRCK Education was launched in Nairobi on 22 September with the aim of addressing many of the country’s education problems, which include a lack of access to the Internet and technology, unreliable electricity supply, high mobile data costs, and lack of technological literacy by both teachers and learners.
Dubbed ‘ BRCK – Kio’, the tablet is one component of a game-changing portable kit, which is made up of 40 ruggedized BRCK Kio tablets; a BRCK, which is an internet connectivity device made for low infrastructure environments; wireless charging to reduce breakage, and a hardened, waterproof, lockable case for added security. The kit and everything inside it is ruggedized to be both dust and water resistant.
"... we are offering limitless opportunities to children who will be exposed to educational information and knowledge that is beyond the four classroom walls."
- Nivi Mukherjee, President BRCK Education
The easy to use, custom-made tablet is designed for use by Standard 1 pupils in harsh environments across rural Kenya where electricity is intermittent. It can be used for 8 hours without power and is rugged enough to allow for occasional drops and spills.
Speaking at the official launch the BRCK Education and the unveiling of the BRCK- Kio and the BRCK-Kio kit, the division’s President Nivi Mukherjee said: “We are delighted to launch the Kio, which is a breakthrough solution that can run multimedia content and offers a lighter technology footprint with an intuitive interface designed for children. Through it, we are offering limitless opportunities to children who will be exposed to educational information and knowledge that is beyond the four classroom walls. The BRCK-Kio will not only pique children’s curiosity to learn and understand more but also go beyond memorizing education content.” .
Mukherjee added that, “The BRCK-Kio will transform the role of the teacher from an instructor to a facilitator. We expect that this will have a powerful impact on the way education is delivered not only in Kenya but across Africa and other emerging markets.”
The BRCK Kio Kit provides a “digital classroom in a box” model that connects any school within range of a mobile phone tower to the internet, as well as provides locally hosted content to the Kio tablets within each kit. The Kit is a simple, effective solution which requires minimal training or technical knowledge to setup and use. There is a single plug used to charge the kit and one button to power on the entire system.
“We wanted to take a holistic approach to education, hence the design of an easy to use digital solution that is uniquely tailored for the African environment. We are deploying a content-agnostic solution that allows us to curate localized and culturally relevant digital content that will improve the learning experience and give a digital edge to millions of children across the continent,” BRCK CEO Erik Hersman said.
BRCK is a team of software developers, engineers and technologists who are from Africa and live here. They have a long history of building things, such as Ushahidi, Crowdmap and the iHub. Their expertise runs from cloud software to fingerprint scanners for mobile devices to high-level medical device prototyping and manufacturing.
Juliana Rotich is a Co-founder of BRCK Inc. You can read Juliana's '100 Lionesses' profile here.