Uganda hosts the most refugees — 1.2 million — of any country in Africa, according to the United Nations. And approximately 62% are school-aged children under the age of 18.
Uganda has an “open border” policy for refugees that is commended by NGOs and rights organizations. And many people fleeing civil war in neighboring South Sudan and violent conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo, have sought safety in Uganda.
There they have have slowly begun to rebuild their lives, and for children, that means going back to school.
But despite its generous policies — including providing refugees access to public health care and education — Uganda’s resources are constrained by its low-income.
In practice, only 60% of refugee children have access to primary school education in Uganda, Joel Boutroue, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) representative said at a press conference in February. And, due to a lack of resources, classrooms are often packed full, with a ratio of one teacher to 100 students.
The large number of school-aged children in need and infrastructural challenges in Uganda, mean many children do not have access to tech-enabled learning resources that can open new opportunities to build skills that will allow them to find gainful employment in the future.
That’s why HP is partnering with Education Cannot Wait, UNHCR and Learning Equality to pilot HP School Cloud — a new education technology solution — in Uganda.
HP believes education is a human right, and that technology can be a great equalizer. Regardless of one’s location or background, the company believes technology can help connect people to greater opportunities and support better learning outcomes.The company committed to enabling better learning outcomes for 100 million people by 2025 during the 2017 Global Citizen Festival in New York City.
Supporting this goal, HP School Cloud uses Kolibri — an app enabled for offline use created by Learning Equality — to create a local hub of high-quality education resources, including videos, readings, activities, and more. The platform, which is well-suited for schools that don’t have an Internet connection, enables teachers to create digital curricula that students can access through connected computers or tablets.
After visiting sites in and around Kampala to assess hardware and software needs of local schools, consult with government and local stakeholders, and identify suitable solutions, HP and its partners are working to pilot the HP School Cloud in select schools that serve both refugee and host communities.
After gathering feedback from this pilot program, HP and its partners will use the insight to inform broader implementation of HP School Cloud so it best addresses the needs of children in schools. The company then plans to expand the project to several schools across the country throughout the year.
“Together with Learning Equality, UNHCR and Education Cannot Wait, it is HP’s intention to amplify our work in Uganda to serve refugee students around the world,” said Gus Schmedlen, Vice President for Education, HP.