Since 2014, digital schools have been developed in various African countries. The majority of these schools are located in rural areas, allowing pupils to access educational materials without an internet connection, thanks to a digital kit. In autumn 2016, the kit is also being issued to French learning support organisations. We spoke to Luc Héripret, the project manager, and asked him three questions.
Why are you setting up digital schools in France?
Locally, some of the foundation’s members mentioned that the digital schools kit (which allows content to be accessed without an internet connection) would also be very useful in certain areas of France. As a result, we developed the following proposal: a call for projects aimed at regional learning support organisations for the provision of the digital kit with a Raspberry and tablets. Organisations were then selected on the basis of their project as it was important for us to maintain the integrity of the programme, i.e. to provide the kit, but also to offer guidance with Orange volunteers and education, thanks to the copyright-free content.
What is involved in implementing the programme in the organisations?
The kits are currently being delivered to the organisations. A member of Orange Solidarity will then show the organisations how to use the kit and, in particular, how to upload content to the Raspberry. In contrast with the African schools, where the content of the kits is controlled by the country’s ministry of education, each organisation can freely upload content to the server. The usual content such as the Khan Academy or Wikipedia is already available on the server.
We will review the situation at the end of 2016.
How does the programme differ from the African digital schools?
The main difference lies in the fact that, in France the activity takes place outside of schools. In Africa, the programme is developed in partnership with each country’s ministry of education. Furthermore, there are no extracurricular community groups in the countries in which the digital schools are based.