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Busia Community Library, Kenya
Impact Assessment Results
Library project improves children’s school marks and social skills
Busia Community Library’s Watoto kwa Watoto (Children for Children) pilot project has demonstrated the effectiveness of tablet computers pre-loaded with content related to the school curriculum and educational games in improving children’s school results, confidence and social skills.
The pilot project, which aims to help schoolchildren pass the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education exams which determine entry to secondary school, is one of 13 public and community library services funded by EIFL-PLIP in April 2012. Here we present results of impact assessment conducted a year later, in April 2013.
Read more in the document titled Impact Study Results, above.
Previous project updates:
Background to Children for Children
Serving a community need
Each year, over 750,000 primary school children take the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) exams. The exams determine whether you enter secondary school, and so there is extreme pressure on the children to pass. In 2011, over a quarter of the children who took the exams were denied access to secondary schools. After the exams, news agencies reported high numbers of child suicides. In the run up to the exams, monthly Continuing Assessment Tests (CATs) identify children at risk of performing poorly. Busia Community Library has identified some five schools in Busia which consistently have high numbers of underperforming children.
The new service
Busia Community Library is already popular with children, who hurry to the library after school. The library will create a special attractive learning space for children and purchase five tablet computers with 3G Internet and wireless capacity. They will engage education professionals in Busia to pre-load the tablets with educational materials in subjects that are central to the school curriculum, including maths, English language and public health. They will also identify and pre-load educational games onto the tablets.
Guided by librarians, children will be encouraged to study, play games and surf the Internet. The new service hopes to improve children’s marks at school, their potential to pass the KCPE exams, their confidence, and ICT skills. The library will also test the effectiveness of using low-cost, low-power tablet computers.
Maria’s Libraries, a non-governmental organization committed to promoting development of a library network in Kenya, is the main partner for the service. Maria’s Libraries will source and provide technology support, and train librarians to use the tablet computers and to pass on their skills to the children. Maria’s Libraries will also identify education professionals, who will recommend content for uploading to the tablets, and monitor and evaluate implementation of the service over the next 12 months.
The service was inspired by the Hole in the Wall, an educational service in India. The service began as a tiny project in which a technology institute cut a hole in a wall adjacent to a slum, and installed a computer in the hole. Children soon began congregating at the computer and quickly taught themselves to use it. Subsequent evaluations of technology and child learning have shown that when children have access to technology in spaces where there is less pressure to perform well they obtain improved marks in school subjects like maths, science and English language. Children also teach each other how to use the technology. Busia Community Library’s will create an attractive space where children can have fun while they learn.
For further information, contact:
Ms Esther Ajambo
Busia Community Library, PO Box 234
50400 Busia, Kenya
or visit mariaslibraries.org/