The current debate in the UK about how the exam system can best support students to become effective future contributors to the country’s growth and economic well-being is a heated one. But for many countries, the challenges faced by schools are more fundamental. In Kenya, for example, real progress is being made, but employing enough teachers, building enough schools and supplying them with the right equipment remains a struggle. Which is why we at Freeplay have been pleased to provide wind up and solar radios to a number of primary schools, giving students the opportunity to listen to educational broadcasts and gain a window on the world they would otherwise not have had. The latest to have received Freeplay radios is Patmos Junior School, where the head teacher, following discussions with the Kenya Institute of Education, now uses programmes broadcast by the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation to help educate children in years four and five.
Helping to improve educational opportunities in developing countries such as Kenya gives us a great sense of achievement. Contributing, albeit in a small way, to the achievement of the second UN Millennium Development Goal, the provision of universal primary education, is hugely satisfying. But the real success is in helping children in rural schools to access the information they need to fulfil their potential. It certainly puts the UK debate into context!