PARIS, France, Apr 6 – Kenya and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) have signed a deal that will accelerate digital learning in Kenya.
The agreement on Cooperation in the Implementation of Digital Literacy in Kenya signed at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris, France, on Tuesday was witnessed by President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed and UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova penned the agreement on behalf of the Kenya Government and the UN body respectively.
President Kenyatta welcomed signing of the agreement, saying integration of ICT in education both in teaching and learning is a key priority of his Government.
“I appreciate UNESCO’s collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology together with other key stakeholders to develop the teachers’ skills to ensure full utilization ICT in our classrooms,” the President said.
Ms Bokova commended President Kenyatta’s support, saying his visit to the UNESCO headquarters reflected the strength of Kenya’s commitment to the UN body.
“We are glad and honoured to host you here today,” the UNESCO Director-General said.
While at the UNESCO headquarters, President Kenyatta also witnessed the ceremony where former President Mwai Kibaki was nominated as UNESCO’s special envoy for water in Africa.
The Head of State said the nomination of his predecessor, as a UNESCO envoy, was a great honour to Kenya.
“This is also an important recognition of the personal commitment of H.E. Mwai Kibaki to the development and the role that Kenya is playing in promoting sustainable water management,” President Kenyatta said.
He expressed optimism that the nomination of former President Kenyatta will support on-going efforts by African countries to increase access to clean drinking water as well as sanitation facilities.
On her part, Ms Bokova said the nomination of former President Kibaki embodies Kenya’s leadership in taking forward the values and objectives of UNESCO.
“Our message is very clear, we need strong cooperation around water, for water and through water across Africa, between states and within them,” Ms Bokova said.
She said the management of water for the benefit of humanity requires champions like former President Kibaki to take the agenda forward.
The UNESCO Director-General pointed out that former President Kibaki is one of the first African leaders to clearly grasp the importance of the water agenda – to promote universal access to water through integrated management.
“This is the leadership we pay tribute to today, it is also the spirit that guides the entire UNESCO water family,” Ms Bokova said.
President Kenyatta assured the UNESCO Director-General of his own personal support to the water initiative.
“Kenya has finalized all the requirements necessary to commence the activities of a UNESCO Category II Centre on Groundwater. The Centre will promote sharing of good practices and management of water resources in the region,” the President said.
He disclosed that his Government was also rolling out a project that seeks to provide access to safe and adequate water supply to all public primary schools as well as sanitation that is important in improving learning conditions, especially in the rural areas.
He said Kenya is proud to be the host country for the UNESCO Regional Office for Eastern Africa that covers 13 countries – Comoros, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda.