Facebook Inc. yesterday announced a new education collaboration project dubbed ‘SocialEDU’ that will benefit Rwandan students with free access to a collaborative online social education experience.
Facebook Boss, Mark Zuckerberg made the announcement at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, where he said that the pilot project will be conducted in Rwanda.
SocialEDU will enable students in Rwanda receive free data plans for accessing free education resources from some of the world’s leading universities.
Javier Olivan, Vice President of Growth and Analytics at Facebook said that the project will help to remove barriers to access and give billions of people the power to connect to the knowledge economy.
Rwanda’s Minister of Youth and ICT, Jean Philbert Nsengimana said, “The Government of Rwanda is excited to partner with Facebook and government was committed to doing its part to make sure SocialEDU has the greatest possible impact in Rwanda.
“This is a way to open up a world full of content and interaction to Rwandan students. We are committed to doing our part to make sure SocialEDU has the greatest possible impact in Rwanda” he said in a statement.
In this program, edX (edx.org) will work with Facebook to create a social educational experience by building a mobile app that is integrated with Facebook.
Airtel will provide free education data for everyone in Rwanda who participates in the program for one year, while Nokia will pitch in with affordable smartphones that will improve the quality and ease of Internet access.
The Government will also expand its Smart Kigali program to provide free wi-fi in campuses throughout the country, enabling students to access high-quality multimedia educational content. Furthermore, the Government will work with edX to adapt course materials for local students. Airtel will lead operations for the phone trade-in program.
Facebook will work closely with Ericsson to test the app’s functionality at Ericsson’s facility, which simulates a 2G environment to provide developers with immediate feedback on the app’s performance in alternative environments.
Later this year, Facebook, in partnership with Ericsson, will launch a unique testing facility that simulates alternative environments for developers to use when creating apps for similar markets.
Nokia’s Executive Vice President for Mobile Phones, Timo Toikkanen said, “Our affordable smartphones help people make the transition from simple mobility to more sophisticated experiences.
Playing a role in helping students get access to these experiences, such as social education, through the SocialEDU initiative is truly an honor.”