By 2026, Airtel Africa will provide a USD7million financial donation and a contribution in-kind worth USD 50million to accelerate digital learning in 13 countries, including Zambia.
UNICEF and Airtel Networks Zambia Plc today signed an agreement to help accelerate the roll out of digital learning through connecting schools to the internet and ensuring free access across the country to the Learning Passport, which is a UNICEF-led educational learning platform. The partnership intends to provide access to digital learning particularly to differently-abled learners as part of an inclusive approach.
Education Minister, Hon. Douglas Syakalima, officiated at the Partnership signing held at Pamodzi Hotel.
“The agreement signed today represents an important contribution toward the achievement of the national vision of ensuring digital infrastructure for every child in Zambia and progresses the fourth sustainable development goal, ‘education for all’. We are grateful to UNICEF and Airtel fortheir continued support to the Government in helping expand technological advancements and making digital content accessible to children even in remote areas, thereby openingtheir world to the 21st century learning,” said Hon Syakalima who is also Member of Parliament for Chirundu.
In Zambia, under the leadership of the Ministry of Education, UNICEF and Airtel will join efforts to facilitate free access to the Learning Passport, a national digital teaching and learning platform which supports learners through audio lessons in 7 local languages and provides teaching guides and materials for teachers and school management, launched in November 2022.
From the Platform’s launch to date, over 3,000 pieces of content have been uploaded on the platform in various languages.
Thanks to this partnership, Airtel will zero rate the platform to ensure users can access the learning passport without paying for data. Airtel will also contribute by sending out SMS blasts to targeted communities to encourage the use of this accessible learning platform and, thus, helping with behavioural change amongst educators, learners, parents and guardians.
“Ensuring connectivity for the Education sector, particularly for the underprivileged, is a key priority for Airtel. Through this partnership we will be ensuring that schools across the country, putting special emphasis on those with children with special needs, connect to unrestricted internet to enable learners, teachers and young people access information and other opportunities. We will do this by providing routers and data to facilitate access to internet in the schools identified by the Government,” explained Mr Hussam Baday, Managing Director of Airtel Zambia.
“To expand learning for Zambian learners beyond the walls of the classroom and promote digital literacy among students and teachers, we launched in 2022 the Learning Passport, a portal which offers a wide variety of learning materials. The partnership that we are launching here today brings these efforts to the next level as this collaboration will help to overpass critical barriers such as cost of data to access to digital learning content while showcasing tools and strategies that help to improve digital learning in schools. UNICEF is keen to continuing work with Government and Airtel to modelling an evidenced based digital learning strategy and we want to call other cooperating partners and the private sector to join efforts to scale up successful approaches to other schools as the connectivity programme scales’ Dr. Penny Campbell, UNICEF Representative in Zambia.
The launch of this agreement in Zambia follows the global partnership signed by UNICEF and Airtel Africa to accelerate digital learning in 13 countries across the continent.