By Dr. Kipronoh Ronoh Ag. CEO ICT Authority
It was a momentous occasion for Kenyans when President Uhuru Kenyatta, in a majestic way, oversaw the signing of the Kenya National Digital Master Plan, a document expected to revolutionize digital literacy in Kenya.
The digital masterplan is set to run from 2022 to 2032. As the President correctly noted, the document will enhance job creation, enable and scale ICT innovation. Coupled with this leap is the development of a dynamic and robust ICT sector that will enhance growth of all sectors of the country's economy and concurrently guide investors.
Suffice to say that the current administration, as its term comes to an end, has performed satisfactorily, making great strides in digitization and embedding ICT across every aspect of public life.
Cog in Transformation
President Kenyatta lauded the Digital Literacy Programme, saying it will be a key cog in the transformation of the education system.
The president cannot be more correct. His administration has been keen on leveraging on ICT initiatives in the country to achieve national and global commitments.
One thing I must point out is that the digital masterplan targets establishing over 20,000 village digital hubs for citizen digital training, which will enable the government to employ an additional 40,000 youth directly to manage the centers.
Such has been the digital masterplan's effort in spearheading job creation for youth, while spreading digital literacy among the populace, which is becoming an important tool for the development of the digital economy.
Simply put, digital literacy means being able to understand and use technology. Digital literacy skills allow you to find, use and create info online in a productive and useful way. Having an understanding about digital literacy means, you are able to use technology safely and it helps you avoid its dangers.
It is imperative for every nation to have a digital masterplan if it has to survive a future where global economies will be determined by digital literacy.
Allow me to put this argument into context. When steam engines were invented in the 18th century and mechanization of production became a reality, the technology innovation released tremendous manufacturing potential that has literally reshaped the functioning of the whole world.
Over the past three centuries, human beings have experienced from Industrial Revolution 1.0 the implementation of steam power, to Revolution 2.0 the discovery of electricity, Revolution 3.0 the massive usage of computers, and at this right moment, we are entering Industrial Revolution 4.0 - Industrial Internet of Things.
In this new Revolution, we will see even wider applications of information and communication technologies (ICT), with extensive cyber-physical systems, cloud computing, and cognitive computing.
Looking back on history, every technology revolution brought us substantial economic developments including increasing production outputs, new employment opportunities, and rising living standards. Nevertheless, the technology revolution also caused the extinction of some industries and enormous unemployment as a consequence.
While facing the digital economy ahead of us, we need to prepare our young generations with the basic skills to survive in the era - the digital literacy - this is why the ICT Authority, with guidance from the Ministry of ICT, has initiated the Digital Masterplan to guide the nation towards this endeavor.
It is noteworthy that the Digital Literacy Programme, just like the President asserted, has transformed our education sector by making digital literacy universally available to our young learners, right from the earliest stage of their lives.
Digital innovation not only affects the current job market, but it also creates new employment opportunities in the Information Technology (IT) industry and the Business and Finance industry with immense economic benefits.
This is the reason why the masterplan is so important, and why by being given a nod by President Uhuru Kenyatta, sets the country for better days ahead.