Understanding Barriers to Girls’ Access and Use of EdTech in Kenya During Covid-19

Resource type
Understanding Barriers to Girls’ Access and Use of EdTech in Kenya During Covid-19
The Covid-19 pandemic resulted in the closure of approximately 90,000 schools across Kenya, causing over 18 million pre-primary, primary, and secondary school learners to be out of school throughout 2020. These lockdown measures of Covid-19 are expected to amplify gender inequalities in education and girls’ access to school, with girls likely to have experienced losses in learning during the pandemic to a greater extent than their male counterparts (⇡Malala Fund, 2020). To enable continued learning during this period, numerous education technology (EdTech) solutions and products have been developed to enable remote learning. This technology can be a powerful tool for girls. Studies have shown that girls engage more than boys when provided with the same level of access to technology, and receive more benefits beyond the realm of formal education such as an increase in access to economic opportunities and a greater ability to make informed decisions about their own health (⇡Webb et al., 2020). However, social inequalities, norms and technological constraints can disproportionately prevent girls from accessing and benefiting from EdTech (⇡Crompton et al., 2021). As such, EdTech interventions and products need to be designed and implemented prioritising gender considerations, otherwise they risk increasing the digital gender divide both in terms of access and use of digital technologies and the internet and the development of skills needed to use digital technologies (⇡Kuroda et al., 2019). Our qualitative and quantitative research looked at how access and usage of learning content and edutainment through smartphone and low-tech (such as radio, Interactive Voice Response, TV) EdTech solutions can be optimised to ensure inclusivity of girls, in particular, focusing on the caregiver as the gatekeeper for access to EdTech resources. In terms of access, our research found that caregivers are primarily concerned about financial resources, books and tutors, and often do not consider using EdTech to access educational resources when they are looking for support for their children. Further, our research showed that digital literacy, caregiver involvement, norms about technology for education, and intention are the most promising levers to improve access and use of educational material. An output of the EdTech Hub, https://edtechhub.org
Report Type
Working Paper
EdTech Hub and Busara Center for Behavioural Economics
Call Number
Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International
DOI: 10.53832/edtechhub.0048 10.5281/zenodo.5524805
Tembey, L., Baier, J., Ogolla, C., & Mohan, P. (2021). Understanding Barriers to Girls’ Access and Use of EdTech in Kenya During Covid-19 [Working Paper]. EdTech Hub and Busara Center for Behavioural Economics. https://doi.org/10.53832/edtechhub.0048
Education systems
Hardware and modality
Language of publication
Publisher and type
Research method
Focus Countries