, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 18 – The Jubilee government is nearing a milestone in the education sector as it marks 100 days in office with the provision of laptops to standard one pupils being one of its key goals.
The laptop project which has elicited criticism is on course and the Cabinet has already approved a Sh15.3 billion for the implementation of the first three phases aimed at providing 6,000 primary schools with the equipment.
According to the Education Ministry, implementation plans have been finalized for the procurement of the first batch of computers for all 1.3 million pupils joining standard 1 in 2014 at an estimated cost of Sh14.7 billion.
“The Jubilee Government recognizes the important role played by middle level colleges in the provision of a competent workforce necessary for the socio-economic development of our country. In this regard, the Jubilee Government has discouraged the conversion of these colleges into universities and mainstreamed TVET (Technical Vocational Education and Training) institutions into the State Department for Science and Technology,” a statement from the ministry stated.
According to Education Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi, the ministry will shortly be calling for both local and international expressions of interest for this purpose.
One of the main reasons why teachers countrywide went on strike is what they termed as misplaced priorities on the provision of laptops by the government.
The government was however relentless in stating that it will leave no stone unturned in the fulfilment of the laptop pledge.
President Uhuru Kenyatta stated that the laptops project is more important than paying the salaries of teachers.
The Head of State further stressed that the project will result in the overall development of the Kenyan child with respect to their counterparts in other nations.
While emphasizing that the funds to be used for the laptop project would be borrowed, he had urged teachers to set their priorities right by being selfless for the sake of future generations.
He indicated that the project will also result in electricity being distributed in schools located in far flung parts of the country.
Deputy President William Ruto had also described the laptop project as a long term process since it formed part of the crucial policies set to transform Kenya into a digital country.
It is also envisaged that the establishment of the TVET Authority will establish standards and assure that quality in middle level education and training is at an advanced stage.
The ministry further states that the Commission for University Education has commenced its work to ensure that standards and quality are maintained in all public and private universities.
“The government is in the process of building the necessary capacities for these two organs. Other achievements by the Jubilee Government include the establishment and appointment of the selection panel tasked to establish the National Education Board.”