Patrick shows the story he just read in a digital class. | © M. Maimuna / HI
12-year-old Patrick is benefitting from digital schooling in the Kakuma refugee camp. Thanks to accessible and adapted materials, he is prepared to achieve all his professional goals.
Patrick was born with a physical disability. He is also passionate about football. The confines of traditional public schools were making it hard for him to reach his full potential on the field and surpass his goals in the classroom. He was not able to balance academics and sports, and missed some remedial classes as a result.
The COVID-19 pandemic forced most schools to close, and students remained at home. To allow children to continue their studies, it was crucial to help schools adapt to the situation.
With a vision of enabling learners with disabilities and young people to continue their education, HI and its partners significantly expanded access to e-learning and training for refugees and host communities in Kakuma and Kalobeyei.The organization also strengthened capacities for digital learning to be integrated in classes and teaching once schools re-opened.
Ekitabu, a digital learning platform, has helped Patrick keep up with his classes. He is now confident in his ability to excel at school despite his love for football, and is relieved to have fewer physical barriers.
“The ability to complete work from anywhere and learn at my own pace has reduced the pressure of having to carry books to and from home every morning,” says Patrick.
Digital lessons at Patrick’s school are offered at scheduled times. There are also storytelling sessions and audio material available on the platform. According to Lilian, a teacher at Patrick’s school, the introduction of digital learning has helped children with visual, intellectual, physical and complex disabilities to find learning fun. They now have access to tablets and can get adapted materials installed for them.
“With the introduction of digital lessons by HI in our school, I am now able to find flexibility between classwork and games,” says Patrick. “At the same time, I like having access to digital content I never knew existed, to help me excel in my education.’’
To create truly transformative education systems and ensure the right to education for all, barriers that exclude vulnerable groups must be eliminated – including those affecting children with disabilities.