The "Digital Schools" programme : actively supporting education for the poorest

When someone says "school", what do you imagine? Whiteboards, text books and pencils? At the Orange Foundation, school also means digital tablets that we distribute to schools, in Africa, schools that often have no books and no internet connection. At these schools more than 130,000 children are now accessing essential educational content using tablets. Beginning with a handful of initiatives in 2014, this project has become a fully-fledged digital education drive: the "digital schools" programme.

Madagascar, décembre 2014, Aïna et ses amies étudient les fractions avec leurs tablettes

Primarily, it’s a kit that includes a mini server of educational content connected to 50 tablets. We provide each school with this Raspberry Pi mini server and the tablets that the children use for instant access to hundreds of items of essential content: books from the school curriculum and also:

  • Khan Academy lessons,
  • the Wikipedia encyclopaedia,
  • the Wiktionary dictionary,
  • the Gutenberg project, a library with more than 42,000 free digital books in English,
  • MOOC online teaching.

We deliver these programmes in partnership with the Education ministries of each country. They work with us to identify the most appropriate school text books for their pupils, which we then upload into the kit.

Our employees volunteering in the field

Because we are convinced that the human factor is central to digital solidarity, we train educational representatives in how to use the kits. Our volunteer employees mentor the schools in their region and deliver training and technical support for the teachers and pupils.

12 countries, 532 schools, 130,000 pupils

L'école de Sidi Thabet en TunisieIn 2014 our "digital schools" programme already numbered 100 schools in 5 countries: Madagascar led the way, then Senegal, Niger, Cameroon and Tunisia joined the adventure. Sidi Thabet school, inTunisia, is the latest to date to be equipped with the kit, which will be rolled out to 26 schools in the country during 2015. In 2014 our digital schools had 20,000 pupils. In 2015, 40,000. In 2016 there are 130,000; how many will there be next year?