KIE and Intel joined by Microsoft have today entered a partnership deal which will see them establish a “State of the Art Centre” to showcase best ways of ICT usage in Kenya’s education transformation.

Intel Corporation has joined forces with KIE to roll-out a state of the art technology innovation centre expected to advance the quality of education in Kenya. The companies joined by Microsoft will be collaborating to establish the School Technology Innovation Centre in Nairobi – a model that has been promoted in other countries through the Microsoft Partners in Learning Program.

Microsoft’s partners in learning program might not be a good basis for Intel and KIE to ride on considering how Microsoft never sees the successful completion of most of the programs they launch under such banners. While in Mombasa in 2011, school teachers complained loudly of Microsoft exploiting them through the now discontinued laptops for schools project. The teachers also claimed that Microsoft started initiatives like Mwalimu portal without looking for the teachers’ input.

The center to be built by the 3 organisations will be dedicated to research on innovative emerging technology solutions and serve as a repository and showcase for best-known methods of teaching, learning and educational technology.

The centre is part of the Accelerating 21st Century Education (ACE) project launched two years ago in collaboration with the Ministry of Education which aims to improve the quality of primary and secondary education through the effective use of technology. The ACE project has deployed Intel classmate PCs, teacher laptops, wireless infrastructure, educational content and teacher training to 23 schools in Kenya in the last month.

Julie Clugage, Global Operations Manager for Intel’s Education Market Platforms Group said:

“ To encourage the sharing of knowledge related to tested best uses of technology in education, all of the key practices and methods learned from ACE will be captured in the School Technology Innovation Center that we have committed to establish.’’

The center will serve as a hub where education leaders and teachers from the region can access the latest information on technology solutions that are proven to enhance innovative teaching and learning, thus improving the skills needed by students to thrive in the 21st-century.

Center visitors will also be able to view research on innovative educational technology solutions, witness technology demos, participate in trainings, and learn from best-practice models and outcomes. To demonstrate the benefits of technology in the classroom, the centre will feature 25 Intel classmate PCs and the latest software offerings from Microsoft. The classmate PC is an affordable, full-featured, compact and rugged student laptop designed to promote interactive and collaborative learning among students and teachers.

Under the ACE project, the aim was to create “one-to-one e-learning” – a model in which every student has access to a computer to help foster an environment where young people can develop skills such as problem solving and critical thinking.