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Non-profit research institute RTI International and IBM’s Africa research lab have launched a new project

The two organisations will cooperate to develop and test intelligent systems to capture data about schools in Kenya’s Mombasa County, the aim being to find new ways of deploying big data analytics and cognitive technologies to transform development approaches in Africa.

Data about students, classrooms, and school resources will be captured from tablet devices supplied to teachers and administrators in more than 100 schools in support of a Kenyan government initiative to improve transparency.

IBM and RTI will then analyze the data and provide indicators that establish school profiles and progress, providing actionable recommendations about the county’s education system.

Ultimately, project organisers say they hope to develop methods which can be applied to capturing and analysing data about challenges in other areas like healthcare, agriculture, water.

“A dearth of data on Africa in the past has led to misunderstandings or misrepresentations of the continent's history, economic performance and potential,” said Dr. Kamal Bhattacharya, vice president of IBM Research, Africa.

“The latest advances in mobile, big data and Internet of Things technologies have the potential to change that, so that we have an accurate and dynamic understanding of Africa’s challenges, rising opportunities and incredible potential.”

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