Technology: Qelasy tablets target the Francophone education market
Costing around $250, the first version of the tablet was launched in September 2014. A new model – which comes in both eight-inch and 10-inch formats and has a tougher screen better suited for outdoor teaching – will be commercially available from January 2016. There are already 3,000 active users in Cameroon, Senegal, Morocco and Côte d’Ivoire, where there will soon be a larger pilot in around 100 schools.
We made it for students, for small hands, to learn and teach, not to play
“We made it for students, for small hands, to learn and teach, not to play,” he says. “We have a system that avoids advertising, that avoids distraction. We give all the power to teachers to monitor what each student is doing on his tablet and to have a more unique way of teaching for each student.”
Some private schools in Côte d’Ivoire, where Qelasy is based, have already put the tablets on their list of requirements for parents to buy. “the best model for us is that parents will be also involved. Because if it will be completely free, it will be difficult for the maintenance,” says N’Doufou.
So far, Qelasy has more than 3,000 pieces of content available for download, including 300 videos and 500 free e-books. Qelasy has a team creating content in the company’s own studio. It is also working with French and African publishing companies, but N’Doufou says it has proved challenging to get more African content on its database. “The difficulty is mainly to explain to editors that it is important for them to get in the digital era.”
N’Doufou says it is a good moment to be developing technology designed for African education. He says most African governments know that using digital technology in education can help “bridge the gap between the West and Africa.”