State begins distribution of 1.2 million school laptops

By Shellmith Njagi/Release

The government has rolled out the Digital Literacy Programme (DLP) for schools which will be undertaken in the next one month in 60 schools across the country.    

The project spearheaded by the Ministry of Information, Communications and Technology will see cabinet secretaries and  principal secretaries head out to public schools in different counties to oversee the installation of digital devices under the DLP.

In a joint press conference at the ministry’s headquarters at Telposta Towers in Nairobi Thursday, key cabinet secretaries in the project led by Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru said that the government places much importance on the project as it is a major agenda for the government.

Mucheru stated that the project is set to deliver over 1.2 million devices by December 2016 which is expected to cover all public schools.

The CS observed that this will set Kenya on course towards attaining a tech savvy generation.

“Plans are underway to commence assembly of local devices locally with the two consortia Jomo Kenyatta University and Moi University already setting up assembly plants,” the CS revealed adding that in the intervening period the government must import the devices from China.

Mucheru, said the digital literacy programme 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 also being implemented through a multi-stakeholder approach that will bring 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.

He further stated, “Since the programme was conceptualized, 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.

These include access to power connectivity, increased security as well as schools benefitting 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 and 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 whereby three schools from every county and nine special education institutions, received these devices that they have since been using 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, Mr. Fred Matiang’i said over 70,000 Teachers have been trained on incorporating ICT in teaching and learning and that the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) has been handling the training of teachers.

To guarantee quality delivery of the programme and support the teachers, ICT officers are currently being trained and will later be deployed to the counties thereafter as quality inspectors to go around the schools.

“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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