Ever wanted to know what it would have been like to learn the syllabus in your native language? Well, maybe your children or younger siblings could get the change to with this new app, M-Lugha.
M-Lugha: Native Languages brought to Modern Day Classrooms
Abdinoor Alimahad developed it in 2018 with his motivation stemming from his childhood days when he was a primary school pupil in Garissa. He had a lot of trouble understanding English and that is what pushed him to start Northfront technologies. It is a company that develops technological solutions for learners.
“With the language crisis in our region, I had to look for other solutions,” Abdinoor says. M-lugha was his Master’s Degree Project at JKUAT and it is designed for Pre-Primary School children. The software translates the Early Childhood Development Education (ECDE) syllabus from English to 20 Kenyan native languages.
It also has a sound feature that lets pupils mimic what they hear through the speakers. It includes images for the objects and actions to which the voice-overs refer. For example, if the image is of a lion, the voice-overs would give its name in three different languages. English, Swahili and a native language of choice.
Why You May Not Have Heard of it Yet
However, here comes the end of the golden lake. Despite receiving international accolades, the app is yet to be approved in Kenya. The Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) is yet to give him the go-ahead. Abdullahi says that,
The process of approval is 2million and I cannot afford it at the moment.
Despite the hurdle, teachers and parents are already using the software. As much as the language barriers affect the students, some teachers also fall prey to the issue. Nevertheless, they note that the app enhances understanding between learners and non-local teachers.
At the moment, we could only find two versions of the app on the Play Store, M-Lugha Kalenjin and Kamba. It’s safe to say it’s a well thought out idea aiming to keep our native languages intact while bridging the language barriers. Maybe a collaboration between this and the Huawei Digitruck would be the beginning of a new way to embrace education in Kenya.