Thierry N’Doufou has spent the past two years working on an education tablet called Qelasy, made specifically for schools in the Ivory Coast. It’s a tablet that follows in the footsteps of other African eductional products designed for classroom use, such as the Wise Touch tablets from South Africa and the eLimu tablet from Kenya.
“We thought about how to build a digital backpack; a tablet that will replace books, textbooks, notepads,” the 36-year-old entrepreneur told BBC News. “Our ambition is to succeed in computerizing all the educational system in a bid to make our system more efficient.”
Qelasy tablets are water and dust resistant, feature an 8-inch screen, quad core microprocessor, Bluetooth, WiFi, 3G connectivity, HDMI, microSD, 3.5mm jack and a USB port. They come preloaded with a number of apps including a parental control function that define usage rules, rights and permissions when using the Qelasy tablet.
Parents and teachers can get access to more apps by visiting the dedicated Qelasy Learning app store to download both free and paid apps. Children can also join the Qelasy Friends social network to chat, exchange ideas and and discuss school work together with other learners.
“Qelasy was conceived in the image of a digital schoolbag enabling the learner to revise at any place and time,” explained N’Doufou. “I’m passionate about education because I would like our country, our continent to take the place that it should have in the world and without education it’s not possible.”
Over 5 000 Qelasy tablets were distributed for the first time on Friday across public schools in Ivory Coast, while some private schools in both Ivory Coast and Morocco will be running pilot projects using the tablet.
They will also be available for purchase from local retailers for $232 (around R2 552) before tax.