Government starts distribution of 1.2 Digischool devices to over 22 000 public primary schools
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.
More about the Digital Literacy Programme
- The Digital Literacy Program aims at promoting universal access and equitable distribution to ICT infrastructure in primary schools.
- The focus of the program is to enhance learning through the use of digital technologies. Emphasis is on Digital content and not devices.
- The Digital Literacy Programme (DLP) is being implemented in all public primary schools in Kenya.
- The project will deliver over 1.2 million devices to all public primary schools. Devices [Laptops for Teachers & tablets for pupils] are fitted with KICD approved content. Content for class 1 and 2 is available in 5 subjects.
- Around 80,000 Teachers have been trained on incorporating ICT in teaching and learning.
- The programme began with the Proof of Concept (POC) phase where devices [12,000] were delivered to 150 schools across all 47 counties.
- This was followed by evaluation of the POC schools as well as e-readiness inspection in preparation for full roll out of the program. [For a school to be considered e-ready, it needs to have: electricity connection either the national grid or solar, secure storage cabinets in the selected with adequate charging ports, at least two teachers trained per school, adequate classroom infrastructure and ample security for the devices.
- Contract signing [between ICT Authority and the two consortia led byMoi University and JKUAT in conjunction with respective consortiums] for full roll out of the program as well as site visit of the factory manufacturing the devices was done in July.
- Delivery of the DLP devices for the full roll out commenced in September.
- Teacher training on E-Readiness as well as stakeholder sensitization is taking place in preparation for countrywide roll out.
- The program intends to use locally supplied goods and services to spur economic and social development as per Vision 2030
- JKUAT, for example, is setting up a local assembly park which has a capacity of assembling 750,000 devices per year and creating 3000 jobs.Moi University is in the process of building its assembly park.
- The program has brought about many notable benefits. It has brought electricity connection to 22,237 schools sparking economic activity in the school environs.
- Teachers are being retrained on ICT integration and content generation; school absenteeism is dropping significantly as learning becomes more engaging and exciting.
- Entrenching ICT in the teaching and learning process and management of education in primary schools.
- Equipping public primary schools with appropriate ICT infrastructure to support teaching and learning process.
- Developing capacity of education managers, primary school teachers and other stakeholders to enable them use the wide range of ICT tools in teaching-learning process and management of schools.
- Facilitating the development and accreditation of appropriate digital content that will enhance acquisition of 21st century skills.
- Promoting universal access and equitable distribution to ICT infrastructure in primary schools
- Integrating sustainable and affordable digital programs in Kenya’s education system
- Provision of digital devices for both learners and teachers.
- Capacity development for teacher and implementers
- Broadband connectivity devices
- Provision of content for digital learning.
- Establishment of local assembly for digital devices and related accessories.
- Development of skills for a knowledge economy.
- Promoting Research and development.
- Promoting locally assembled / manufactured goods and services.
- Enhancing Job creation
- The Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology in collaboration with The Ministry of Industrialization, have established the Nairobi industrial and technology park project. The aim of the project is to 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.