The Digital Literacy Programme (DLP) for standard one pupils will go a long way in inculcating information technology skills in children at a very early stage in life. Cabinet Secretary for Education, Science and Technology, Dr Fred Matiang’i, said the programme, which is expected to benefit more than 1.2 million pupils in 23,951 public schools, will enable every child to access similar content regardless of his or her location.
“Education for our pupils will never be the same again with the new digital technology since the content will be the same whether a pupil is in Kiambu, Marsabit or Nyanza region,” he added.
Dr Matiang’i was speaking at the Isooni Primary School in Machakos County during the official launch of the Digischool laptop project. So far, the Cabinet Secretary said, the Government in partnership with Jomo Kenyatta University of Science and Technology together with Moi University, has trained 79,000 teachers in information technology skills and intends to increase the number to 124,000 by the end of the year.
The Digischool is one of the Jubilee’s flagship projects that propelled President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy, William Ruto to power in 2013 general elections. The Government projects to supply 1.2 million DVDs to 23,951 public schools by March next year.
Isooni Primary School is among the three first institutions in Machakos County that have benefited from the project after receiving 85 Digital Learning Devices (DLD) together with a projector last month.
Two teachers have also been trained in computer skills to enable them to roll-out the programme. Other Government officials who attended the function were ICT Authority Chief Executive Officer Mr Robert Mugo, County Education Executive Member Ms Faith Wahome together with Citybank Chief Executive Ms Ann Wairimu.
Meanwhile, Public Service Principal Secretary, Ms Lilian Omollo lauded the Digital Learning Programme saying it will promote digital literacy and ICT skills among school going children. Ms Omollo noted that the programme, being run concurrently with the connection of electricity to public schools, has seen 18,000 schools connected so far with electricity with another 5,000 connected to solar power.
“These programmes have also created jobs for our youth. The development of content for the gadgets is being developed by our own youth. The future maintenance and repairs will be done locally by our youth,” she said.
The Principal Secretary, who was speaking at Jaribu Primary School in Garissa town, noted that the project was in line with the Jubilee manifesto to create jobs for the youth in the country. The roll-out will see at least three public primary schools in each county receive the tablets for class one to three. All the pupils from class four to eight will receive the gadgets in the next phase.
In Garissa County, Balambala, Alongo Arba, Jaribu and Garissa Township schools are the first beneficiaries in the current phase. The Cabinet Secretary for Information, Communications and Technology Mr Joe Mucheru said the Jubilee Government has fulfilled the pledge it made to the electorate in 2013 through the provision of the digital platforms geared towards improving learning and education access in the country.
Speaking at Ortum Boys Boarding in West Pokot County, Mr. Mucheru said: “We want all public schools to go digital before pupils report for first term next year.”
The Cabinet Secretary said already 79,000 teachers have been trained in ICT and Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development has already developed content for Standard One and Two that has been installed in the tablets. “These gadgets are a great opportunity and learning platform among the young people,” Mr Mucheru added.
“Only 500 primary schools out of 24,000 don’t have electricity and will be sorted out by the end of the year,” he said, adding that education development is an important gift to Kenyan children.