Mobile data to the rescue

Tozzaplus Chief Executive Paul Kimani displays a biometric mobile data device used by small and medium enterprises to monitor employees’ arrival and departure time.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Up-to-date learner and instructor population maps can be used to give the number of learners, teaching and non-teaching staff present in a school at a specific time.
  • Nurturing Big Data awareness and capabilities, allocating budget and establishing partnerships will facilitate the unlocking of mobile big data for the benefit of all within the educational sector

To resuscitate the education sector, which was enormously disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic, which led to the closure of institutions of learning globally, and to ensure learners keep up with the academic calendar, institutions switched to online dissemination of content while learners write examinations remotely.

While this ought to be perceived as a time for re-engineering our education system locally, the component of technology cannot be ignored.

The influence of mobile phones and its untapped delivery capabilities ought to be explored through partnerships with telcos to harness aggregated technological mobility data in epidemiological models to monitor the dynamics of the disease pattern and how it might spread.

Logistical decisions

That will help to identify transmission hotspots or sources of infection within the learning fraternity and avert a second wave.

School management teams can maintain updated information on learners’ population density to aid logistical decisions applicable to improved and optimised placement of resources like personal protection equipment and isolation facilities in schools.

Secondly, up-to-date learner and instructor population maps can be used to give the number of learners, teaching and non-teaching staff present in a school at a specific time. This data may be useful for resource planning, identity of potential transmission hotspots or informing institutional lockdown policies and exit strategies within schools.

Thirdly, origin-destination matrices may be used to show the volume of inter-county movement or other counties. This may be as a proportion of the population in the origin or destination, or relative to a previous period, to allow more accurate analysis.

Nurturing Big Data awareness and capabilities, allocating budget and establishing partnerships will facilitate the unlocking of mobile big data for the benefit of all within the educational sector.

nancy.marangu@gmail.com.