The other end…. A kid from a well to do family!
School days are no nightmare to Daniel as it is common to the typical school going child across the globe. For most of the ‘normal’ folk who grew up in Kenya, school probably means chilly mornings on a deserted forested pathway, no breakfast, torn uniform and super mean teachers! This is probably unheard off or better still unimaginable to small Dan as his peers refer to him due to his small stature. He is 12 years old and already a candidate for this Year’s Kenya Certificate of Primary education.
Bliss describes his life in and out of school. Born to a family of a prestigious lawyer for a dad and an accomplished IT manager as a mother, lack has never been part of his language in life. He asks and he gets. To him it’s just that simple. They live with the rest of his family in one of the leafy suburbs of Nairobi. This spells one thing, Money! Plenty of it for that matter.
Dan attends school in one of the most prestigious primary schools in Milimani Area in Nairobi. He is chauffeur driven by his personal driver to and from school every day. He has no idea of what it means to take a matatu (common public transport or shared taxi) or even walk to school. Never mind that his school is only 20 minutes walk away from their house! His classes are fun as several kinds of technology are incorporated in most of them. Overhead projectors, white boards, computers are used to aid in the teaching process. The young and enthusiastic teachers connect appropriately with the pupils creating a smooth learning environment. The students interact freely with their teachers and this helps the teachers to identify and nature talents as well as help those who may have academic or social problems.
State of the art facilities are a freely available to the kids. This includes gyms, computer labs, well stocked libraries, a swimming pool, lawn and table tennis courts and a large soccer pitch. Dan, a good swimmer is particularly fond of the pool where you will most probably find him after classes before he is picked up for home. He is passionate about school as he views it as not a place to only work but a place to grow in totality. To prove this, whilst being among the top students of his class, he also plays the violin and hopes to someday perform with an orchestra. He also has a number of best goalkeeper awards under his hat.
When he gets home, after a warm bath, he ensures that he completes his assignments which are supervised by either of his parents. Two times a week, his private tutor comes to the house to tackle any of his difficult areas in his studies. This greatly helps him to keep his grades up. Dinner time is family affair where the whole family takes time to bond. This way, his parents are able to keep in touch with the kids despite their busy work schedules. He then conducts his personal study time before retiring to bed. At his disposal is a laptop with internet connectivity that he uses to carry out research.
His weekends are enviable to say the least. Every now and then, the school organizes educational class trips, camps, hikes around the country and abroad. Only last month, his class went to Egypt for a Geography class trip- the pyramids are still fresh in the kids mind! When not on any of these trips, Dan knows that the exams are just around the corner, he is therefore glued to his books and laptop, with the occasional break for play station.
Unlike Jack (From the previous story), Dan:
• Is only 12 yet is way ahead in his education level
• Has access to technology: computers, internet
• Never has to worry about basic human needs like food, clothes etc
• Is chauffeur driven
• Engages in extra-curricular activities: swimming, soccer, violin
• Exposed to travel
• Does not have to work
• Has enough time to read
• Has enough resources: teachers, private tutor, educated parents
• Is just being a kid: carefree, studying, eating, sleeping, playing
• They are both young kids
• They will sit the same exams at the end of their primary education
• They will compete for positions in the same high schools in the country
• How much is Jack (see earlier article) missing out especially due to lack of technology?
• How different would Jack’s (see earlier article) learning process be if he had access to technology?
Studying and comparing this story with an earlier article on Jack – from a poor home, puts a challenge squarely on us!
What role can we play in designing and introducing appropriate technologies that could enhance the learning of the poor kids? Really, it’s not necessary to get complicated technologies, rather, its simple, yet relevant technologies that meet them at their point of need!