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Microsoft transforming education in Kenya

Kenya, Mombasa (July 29, 2011): Microsoft East and Southern Africa has officially unveiled mwalimukenya.org, a formal communication platform for all Kenyan teachers employed under Teachers Service Commission. Through the portal, TSC will provide all teachers with a digital identity and a formal email address. Amongst the benefits that teachers will enjoy through this portal are: direct communication with their employer without physically travelling to the headquarters in Nairobi, ease of curriculum delivery, elimination of the need to carry bulky books, ease of planning lessons, sharing and storing documents online.

“To activate an account, a teacher simply needs to log on to the site, enter their TSC number and will instantly receive their @mwalimukenya.org email address,” said Mark Matunga, Regional Education Manager for Microsoft East and Southern Africa. He was speaking during the ongoing Kenya Primary Schools Head teachers Association (KEPSHA) delegates’ conference taking place in Mombasa where thousands of public primary school head teachers drawn from schools in Kenya have converged.

Addressing the conference, Joseph Karuga, National Chairman KEPSHA said the forum creates a favorable atmosphere for delegates to share experiences and best practices to help improve quality of education and the standards being realized in primary schools.

“In line with this year’s conference theme, based on Child Friendly Schools (CFS)initiative, schools must not only help children realize their right to a basic education, but also equip them with the skills to face the challenges of a new century. The 21st century has seen rapid adoption of Information and Communications Technology and basic IT skills are now a requirement in society. It is therefore paramount that our schools start to integrate modern technology in the classrooms”, said Mr Karuga. Further, he urged the head teachers to look at the conference as a good platform to share best practices especially around e-learning and technology solutions available to schools in Kenya.

While calling for the revision of the ICT strategy which was drafted five years ago, Mr. Matunga noted that a lot of progress had been made in digitizing education content through close partnerships with Microsoft, Kenya Institute of Education and Kenya Literature Bureau. “Kenyan teachers now have access to a digital curriculum, the first of its kind in Africa”, he added.

To further make technology scalable to schools and bridge the digital divide, Microsoft has availed Windows 7 and Office 2010 products at a subsidized cost to the Ministry of education. In addition, through a partnership with Safaricom and the Kenya Institute of Education, teachers across the country stand to benefit from basic ICT training, supply of computers, e-learning accessories and high speed internet connectivity through the Teacher Laptop Program.

In showcasing the latest technology solutions designed for schools at the conference, Microsoft displayed the recently launched Windows Multipoint Server 2011. It is a Windows-based solution designed specifically to help educational institutions give every student individual access to PCs by allowing multiple users to simultaneously share one computer, each with an independent Windows experience. It is a cost-effective way to get more technology into classrooms, computer labs, and libraries and is expected to boost achievement and global competitiveness for schools across Africa.

Kenya Primary Schools Head teachers Association (KEPSHA) has brought together its members and other stakeholders at Sheikh Zayed Children Welfare Center in Mombasa for their 7th Annual delegates conference presided over by Minister for Education, Professor Sam Ongeri. In attendance are over 15,000 Head teachers from primary public schools, District Education officers, and Provincial Directors of Education and TSC officials.

 

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