Zimbabwean Entrepreneur Invents Open-Sourced Technology To Improve Access To Education In Africa

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Zimbabwean AI expert William Sachiti, CEO of UK-based start-up Academy of Robotics has published an open-source technology known as ‘Trees of Knowledge’ to improve access to education through smartphones in Africa.Photo: Rawpixel Ltd/Flickr

Zimbabwean AI expert William Sachiti, CEO of UK-based start-up Academy of Robotics has published an open-source technology known as ‘Trees of Knowledge’ to improve access to education through smartphones in Africa. This free-to-develop technology enables a tree or rural landmark to broadcast a wifi connection providing access to a pre-loaded package of educational content. The wifi connection and content comes from a micro-computer moulded into the landmark to protect it from theft or damage.

Anyone within a roughly 100m radius can then access the content on any mobile device free of charge. Users can also charge their phone by plugging it into the accompanying solar-powered battery charging station. The micro-computers will run on the power equivalent of a small rechargeable battery and can run for years without maintenance. All the user needs is a wifi-enabled device such as a phone, tablet, laptop or computer. There is no need for the phone to be connected to a carrier or any network provider, removing the issue of expensive data charges.

The technology uses a basic computer like the Raspberry Pi computers which have been used in refugee camps in Lebanon by UNICEF as part of its Raspberry Pi for Learning initiative.

Story from AfricaNews.

Globally there are 258 million children out of school and UNESCO’s new report Education Progress highlights that the problem is particularly acute in Sub-Saharan Africa where the population of primary-school aged children has doubled since 1990 and 1 in 5 children of primary school age are out of school. However, this is also a region witnessing rapid growth in smartphone adoption. Already more than 23% of people in Sub-Saharan Africa have access to a smartphone  –  a number which the GSMA estimates (https://bit.ly/2Oeyoaa) will rise to 39% in the next five years.

AI expert and serial entrepreneur, William Sachiti, who was educated in Zimbabwe before moving to the UK where he started his first technology company at 19 years old highlights the challenges.

Read more at AfricaNews.