Gov’t starts distribution of laptops to schools

Gov't starts distribution of laptops to schools

The Government, through the Ministry of ICT, will Friday, September 30 officially start the countrywide roll-out of the Digital Literacy Programme (DLP).

The programme, which will radically change teaching and learning in schools by entrenching ICT in the country’s education system, will deliver 1.2 million devices to all public primary schools by December.

In a statement to newsrooms, the devices (laptops for teachers and tablets for children), are loaded with Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) approved content for class one and two in five subjects.

The Cabinet Secretary Ministry for ICT, Joe Mucheru, said DLP, which has been branded Digischool, will play a critical role in enabling Kenya achieve the status of a knowledge based economy.

“We are now starting on a journey that will without a doubt transform not just the education sector but the entire economy. When we put these devices in the hands of our children, we are securing not just their future but that of the country and look forward to being a global IT power house in a few years,” said Mucheru.

The programme is being implemented through a multi-stakeholder approach, bringing together different Ministries, Departments and Agencies.

“‘Throughout October, all Cabinet Secretaries and Principal Secretaries will travel to different public primary schools where they will oversee the delivery and installation of the devices,’’ said Mucheru at a press briefing.

“Since the programme was conceptualised, we have always ensured that we involve as many stakeholders as possible. This is because there are different facets to the project that cannot be handled by one agency.”

In addition to enhancing learning and teaching in schools, the programme has had ripple effects in different areas across the country including access to power connectivity, increased security as well as schools benefiting from improved infrastructure.

“The programme is having secondary benefits ranging from lighting up far flung areas that had no electricity to triggering subsidiary economies that complement the project,” said Mucheru.

The Ministry of Energy and Petroleum through the Rural Electrification Authority and Kenya Power have almost concluded connecting all schools to the electricity grid or giving them solar systems. The Ministry has requested schools which may have been inadvertently left out to contact them.

The country-wide rollout follows a successful pilot that was undertaken in May and June. Under the pilot, also referred to as Proof of Concept (POC) phase, three schools from every county and nine special education received the devices and have since been using them in teaching and learning.

“During the POC phase, we witnessed children from different backgrounds interact with the devices for the first time and within a few hours able to use them with ease. Now imagine what such a child will be able to do with the tablet in a few months,” said Mucheru.

The Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Education, Science and Technology Fred Matiang’i said over  70,000 Teachers have been trained on incorporating ICT in teaching and learning. The Teachers Service Commission has been handling the training of teachers.

“This programme is quite crucial to the advancement and welfare of our children and nation and will touch every single household,” he said.

There are plans to start assembly of devices locally, with the two consortia (JKUAT/Positivo BGH and Moi University/JP Courto) already setting up assembly plants.

This is expected to transfer skills to Kenyans and ensure sustainability of the project.

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