Schools have been closed for 2 school years in Uganda. Yiya AirScience enables rural students of all ages to learn math and science remotely using widely accessible technologies: radios and keypad phones. No internet! We use a flipped classroom model where learners get content first, and then engage in a broadcasted lesson with a teacher. We also send content via robocalls and SMS. The learners answer questions, complete homework, take quizzes, and get feedback via our free offline learning app.
School closures due to COVID-19 affect 15 million students in Uganda. The pandemic has escalated educational disparities. While students from urban schools immediately switched to digital e-learning, students in rural communities were cut off from learning completely. This increase in barriers spurs the need for recovery programs like Yiya AirScience, to support the learning outcomes of young people with limited resources, including learning materials, teaching, smartphones or internet.
We enable rural Ugandan students of all ages to learn STEM remotely with widely accessible technologies: keypad phones and radios. We send content via robocalls and SMS and broadcast radio lessons daily. The learners answer questions, complete homework, and take quizzes via Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD), a real-time SMS system that is free for the user. The combination of audio and text is inclusive for low literacy learners and accessible to learners in all settings.
Yiya launched the 12-week pilot course in September 2020 with 30-minute radio broadcasts, six times a week, on two radio stations in Northern Uganda. The AirScience Program has now reached over 50,000 users across the country. Using our app, we can measure knowledge retention. In our pilot program, we estimate participants built over 1,200 solar dryers using locally available materials, demonstrating their creativity, resourcefulness, and resilience.