The Ministry of ICT through the ICT Authority will tomorrow 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.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.
Joe Mucheru Cabinet Secretary Ministry of ICT said DLP (which has been branded Digischool) would 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. Towards this end, all the Cabinet Secretaries and Principals will lead the distribution of devices to the schools in different parts of the country over the next one month.
“‘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. 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 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.
Fred Matiang’i Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Education, Science and Technology 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.
To guarantee quality delivery of the programme and support the teachers, ICT officers are currently being trained and will 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.enhance uptake of research and innovation. This park will play a big role in the assembly of the digital devices and it will aim to create employment for 3000 people.
The park has a capacity of assembling 750,000 devices per year. It is working in a consortium with Positivo BGH which is based in Argentina, which manufactures technology products.
Moi University is also set to set up an assembly plant later on in 2016.
Contractors submitted in their bid, appropriate environmental measures for disposal, refurbishment and recycling when the gadgets, accessories and parts reach the end of their life cycle.
Government Agencies Involved
Several government agencies under the coordination of the Ministry of Information, Communication and Technology are working together in ensuring DLP is a success. Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, Ministry of Industrialization & Enterprise Development, The National Treasury, Ministry of Energy and Petroleum and the Office of the Attorney General as well as key stakeholders such as Teachers Service Commission, Kenya Institute of Special Education, Kenya National Union of Teachers and Kenya Primary Schools Heads Association.