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Elearning for Kenyan children

NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 26 – Kenya is now transitioning from traditional teaching methods to e-learning through the integration of ICT with education for primary and secondary school pupils, with the help of Intel Corporation.

Twenty-five teachers selected from teacher training colleges (TTCs), Centre for Maths and Science and Technology Education in Africa (CEMASTEA), Kenya Institute of Education (KIE) and Kenya Education Staff Institute (KESI) will be incorporating e-learning teaching methods and teach others.

“Intel wants to extend the reach and impact of teachers. We believe this initiative will change the way teachers plan and execute their class lessons,” emphasised Andre Christian, Intel Education Manager for Sub-Saharan and South Africa.

There are 250,000 teachers in Kenya, thus online material will be provided to orient them in the training program being facilitated by the KIE and Intel.

The program is already successfully being carried out in South Africa, Nigeria and Egypt, whereby schools have adapted their curricula to embrace e-learning to improve the academic performance of students.

“The Kenyan government is committed to helping teachers access and use technology to improve their teaching. We know that technology and e-learning will help increase and improve the skills of our teachers, which will have a major benefit to Kenyan students,” said Prof Karega Mutahi, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education during the Intel Teach Program launch.

Rapid improvements in technology in the recent past have led to globalisation, especially in mobile telephones and the internet. This has led to what is now currently referred to as a knowledge based economy.

Growth in this sector has been impeded by high costs of internet connectivity; but this is expected to change with the arrival of the undersea fibre optic cables in Mombasa by July this year.

“We cannot afford not to take advantage of the increased access to bandwidth and information. The best strategy for ICT capacity building is to build a firm ICT foundation at the very core of the nation: starting with our schools, teachers and students,” elaborated the PS.

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In the current global economic crisis, countries that are knowledge based economies are bound to survive better than resource based economies and in this scenario, Kenya will have a better chance to compete and be at par with the rest of the world.

The Education Ministry has put in place policy strategies aimed at addressing the issue of ICT in the education sector. In addition, the ministry has embarked on a number of initiatives towards the adoption and integration of ICT in education.

Some of the programs have ensured that learning institutions are equipped with facilities such as technicians, computers and connection services.

“In 2005/2006 and 2006/2007 of the financial years, the ministry disbursed Sh319.5 million to 213 identified secondary schools in all the old 71 districts. Each beneficiary school received Sh1.5 million to purchase ICT facilities for e-learning,” announced Concelia Ondiek, senior deputy director of education (Secondary), in the Ministry of Education.

The schools have already procured computers and related facilities and are in the process of implementing e-learning in particularly science and mathematics. This is as a result of an agreement signed with the United States Agency for International Development – Cisco, Microsoft and the Education Ministry.

A teacher at the Kamiti Secondary School enthused that they have computerised facilities for the students and can pronounce that there have been dramatic improvements in their academic results.

KIE is on course to localise digital content in Kenya for the appropriate use of ICT in problem solving, critical thinking and learning.

This digital curriculum is available for class four and five pupils, while material is being developed for class six and seven pupils.

Intel has contributed over $1 billion over the past decade to train six million teachers globally and by 2011 they hope to train an additional 10 million teachers worldwide.

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Trial runs for academic performance will begin in March 2009, to see what the teachers that have completed their training will have learnt and implemented.

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