School laptops programme not just about devices

February 21, 2016
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But according to the ICT Ministry, the program is not just about the devices, but will involve other crucial activities before the actual delivery, which it says will be in the last week of March/FILE
But according to the ICT Ministry, the program is not just about the devices, but will involve other crucial activities before the actual delivery, which it says will be in the last week of March/FILE

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 21 – As the Digital Literacy Programme pilot project kicks off this week, a lot of Kenyans are waiting to see laptops in the said 150 primary schools come Monday.

But according to the ICT Ministry, the program is not just about the devices, but will involve other crucial activities before the actual delivery, which it says will be in the last week of March.

The ministry has laid out plan that will see the pilot phase complete before the end of May and prepare for the full implementation starting June.

“There is this myth that this process is just about the devices. I think the device itself is just about one aspect. And it doesn’t have to be a laptop, a tablet or a phone, it can be anything. The most important part of this process is the actual content. For example, are the kids going to get the right content, at the right place and be able to consume that?”ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru said in an interview with Capital FM Business.

Two consortiums of Moi University and Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) have been contracted to kick off the pilot project if they perform they will proceed with the full job.

Now according to CS, here are actual timelines in the pilot phase:

Between February 22 to 29, the activities will include negotiations with contractors on the implementations plan, device testing, where 10 devices will be tested at Kenya Science and at the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD).

There will also be e-readiness assessment validation, where the Digital Literacy Programme team will visit the 150 schools.

During the same period, KICD and contractors will also engage in converting content for the laptops, to images.

From the first week of March starting date 7, the activities will be going through refresher courses for both the teachers and their school heads.

The period will also involve engagement with the communities surrounding the schools on the importance of the project, which will be conducted by the District Educations Officers, County Executives and Educations County Directors.

The following activity, which will start on the last week of March, will be now the actual delivery of the long awaited laptops. At this point, the ministry will be able to conclude, if the two consortiums will proceed with the actual implementation or not.

At this stage, they will tested on the ability to deliver on schedule, adherence to specifications of the devices, installations and testing of both content and the devices, as well as usability, functionality and support to school to ensure that everything works optimally.

The first week of May will be to evaluate the contractors and in June award the tenders.

“Earlier, the delays tended to be legal, and we obeyed the courts. We actually gone through and open and transparent process, and so we don’t envisage those legal delays again,” the CS assured.

He says, the project may have its own challenges but the biggest impact will be on the innovation thereafter on the coming younger generation.

The schools are distributed evenly across the 47 counties with three schools picked and representing urban, peri-urban and rural schools. An additional nine schools are allotted to Special Education Schools.

The full implementation of the laptop project will kick off in June this year, with 600,000 laptops supplied to 11,000 schools in the first batch, with a second similar batch being disbursed from June next year.

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