, MAKUENI, Kenya Nov 14 – Education Minister Mutula Kilonzo says his ministry plans to digitise the entire school curriculum by 2015.
He said this would minimise the expenditure in resources on education by the government and allow students to access lessons from anywhere.
The Education Minister said that learners acquire digital skills best when exposed to Information Communication and Technology at a very young age which they increasingly use to explore and exploit the world of information and to craft that into knowledge.
“My dream is to see our learning institutions churning out highly skilled personnel who are innovators and creators of knowledge, driving our economy using the latest technologies and competing globally in production of new knowledge and products”, he said.
He said an ICT literate workforce will enable the country acquire the status of a knowledge economy by the year 2030.
He explained that ICT integration has been given special focus in the Education Bill and other draft legal documents currently being discussed in Parliament.
He confirmed that he had taken a personal interest to ensure that learners are not disadvantaged by the digital divide currently witnessed in most parts of Africa.
“ICT had now become part and parcel of teaching and learning in all levels of education starting from Early Childhood Development Education (ECDE) up to university level,” he added.
The minister spoke during the launch of the Multi-Choice Resource Centre at Imale Secondary School in Makueni County on Tuesday.
The minister lauded the efforts of MultiChoice East Africa for funding the centre and establishing 90 similar centres in other parts of the country, which he said would bring technology closer to the people especially those in rural communities.
He noted that the equipment donated to the schools would enable them to provide education that was in tandem with the requirements of the 21st Century learning skills.
“We have developed an enabling policy environment that not only spurs growth in this sector but also provides guidelines on the use ICT tools for teaching and learning and our commitment is that we shall integrate ICTs in teaching and learning at all levels,” the minister reiterated.
“With your installation of Satellite Technology and provision of digital content, I am sure the communities living around here are strategically placed to participate meaningfully in transforming their socio-economic life,” he said.
Under the MultiChoice initiative, Kenyan public secondary schools are provided with digital satellite technology and free access to the DStv Education Bouquet, which includes seven documentary, educational and current affairs channels. 25 more schools are set to benefit from the Ministry’s partnership with MultiChoice.
“Technology and education can blend seamlessly as illustrated in the rapid uptake of the initiative by teachers and students over the years,” said the MultiChoice East Africa regional director, Stephen Isaboke at the launch.
The Education Minister cited the development of digital content by KIE for the school syllabus and the continuing ICT-Economic Stimulus programme (ESP) which so far has equipped 1,427 secondary schools with ICT tools as among a number of programmes aimed at equipping all schools with appropriate technologies.
Kilonzo further said that the ministry had also established the National ICT Innovation and Integration Centre which is charged with developing and testing innovative solutions for use in schools.
He said the ministry is also committed to ensuring that the country had the requisite teacher-capacity and relevant digital materials and enabling policy framework.
“Technology is not the focus in education but how the technology is used to enhance teaching and learning,” he emphasized.
“We are moving away from piloting projects into actual scaling up of programmes that impact positively on educational outcomes as well as retraining communities where the schools are situated,” Kilonzo said.