UHURU'S FLAGSHIP VENTURE

Is tablet project working? Experts to assess it this week

50 officers will be deployed this week countrywide

In Summary

• The programme was initiated by President Kenyatta and the programme's objective is to integrate ICT into teaching and learning.

• A report commissioned in 2018 said despite wide distribution, only five per cent success was witnessed in implementation.

 

Standard 1 pupil Nicholas Kyete holds a tablet at Muthue Primary School in Kitui South subounty as a tacher looks on.
CONTROVERSIAL: Standard 1 pupil Nicholas Kyete holds a tablet at Muthue Primary School in Kitui South subounty as a tacher looks on.
Image: MUSEMBI NZENGU

Is the controversial laptop project working? Do learners understand it? Do teachers understand and know how to teach?

We'll find out.

The government this week will begin an assessment of President Uhuru Kenyatta's controversial flagship tablet project in schools. It has been plagued by delays and complaints that teachers are still not adequately trained.

The Sh24.6 billion project initially sought to provide a laptop, but later settled for a less costly tablet for each learner in lower primary classes 1, 2 and 3.

The ICT Authority will lead 14 Digital Learning Programme implementing agencies in a countrywide exercise to assess how well the Digital Literacy Programme is being implemented.

The programme was initiated by President Kenyatta to integrate ICT into teaching and learning.

The ICT ministry says 50 officers will be deployed this week to Central Kenya, Nairobi region, the Coast, Nyanza, Rift Valley and Western.

A Ministry of Education report commissioned in 2018 returned a shocking verdict on the project: it said despite 95 per cent distribution of the devices, only five per cent success was witnessed in implementation.

The report has not been updated.

The ICT ministry says the project is being implemented in all registered public primary schools and more than one million devices have been distributed to more than 20,000 learners countrywide.

But some poor schools still don't have tablets; they don't have walls; there's dust everywhere and no place to store tablets. 

The programme seeks to equip children with digital skills needed to run the digital economy.

"In over 20 schools the team has visited, progress has been noticed in the utilisation of the devices to teach the Competency-Based Content and teachers are also using the devices for online teaching," a statement from the ICT ministry reads.

The ministry said the ICT Authority is providing internet connectivity in rural schools through the National Optic Fibre Backbone Infrastructure and the East Africa Regional Trade Transport Development Facilitation Project.

This comes even as the Education Ministry announced it will be moving to Phase 2 of the project that involves constructing computer labs in schools.

The labs will cater for those in upper primary grades 4 to 6.

Basic Education PS Belio Kipsang said the plan is to spend Sh1.5 billion to construct computer laboratories in 23,000 public primary schools to boost digital literacy.

Kipsang said the first 8,000 public primary schools will have their laboratories refurbished for Sh800 million.

“We will embark on this immediately because we will only repair or recondition existing structures. The remaining once will have new structures,” Kipsang said.

(Edited by V. Graham)