, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 15 – The government says all is set for rolling out of the pilot laptops project in primary schools from February 22, for a period of 12 weeks.
ICT Cabinet Secretary Joseph Mucheru says the 150 primary schools targeted in the pilot project have been vetted to check their security status, proper classrooms, electricity connections as well having trained teachers.
“The 150 schools selected were certified to be e-ready by school headteachers in collaboration with County Education Officers. The proof of concept phase seeks to allow the successful bidders to prove their capacity to implement the full project to all the 22,000 schools,” Mucheru said on Monday.
The two successful bidders to implement the initial part are the consortium of Moi University-JP Couto and Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology-Positivo BGH.
Moi University will cover 26 counties, while Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology will cover 21 counties.
“We continue to emphasise that this program is not just about devices. We now want to focus on the other components of the program such as teacher training, power connections, content creation with the ultimate goal of job and wealth creation for Kenyans,” Mucheru emphasised.
So far 66,000 teachers have been trained on digital literacy and are awaiting a refresher course in the next few weeks.
The 150 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 key components of the programme will include provision of content for digital learning, provision of digital devices for both learners and teachers, capacity development for teacher and implementers, establishment of local assembly for digital devices and related accessories and broadband connectivity.
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.
Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i says content for class one to three is ready, adding that content development going forward will be liberalized and not development by government.
“We will provide guidelines, standards and coordination through the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development. As it has happened before government is not going to monopolise content development. So, all those interested in this should only wait for the guidelines that we will come up with,” Matiang’i said.
The project is being implemented through a multi-agency approach that consists of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, Industrialization Ministry, Ministry of Energy and Petroleum, The National Treasury and the Office of the Attorney General.
Safaricom has offered to give free Internet both in the pilot stage and after full implementation.