The Jubilee Government has officially rolled out its Digital Literacy Program (DLP) under which primary school teachers will be supplied with laptops and the children with tablets.

Under the program, more than 12,000 digital devices are expected to be distributed to 150 primary schools for the pilot phase of the program.

The devices will be used to enhance teaching and learning by pupils in primary schools across the country.

Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development

The Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) says it has launched on line content for standard 1 and 2 available on http://kicdinteractivecontent.ac.ke upon a simple registration.

The devices, it says, are preloaded with content which includes interactive digital content for Standard 1 and 2 in five subjects – Kiswahili, English, Maths, Science and Social Studies. The teachers’ laptops and server and wireless router in addition are preloaded with the teacher training curricula on ICT integration, teachers training manual on ICT and a resource kit for teachers.

KICD says it has also completed preparing interactive content for visually impaired pupils in the 5 subjects.

Computer Assembly Plant

The government is also setting up assembly plants at the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) in Juja and Moi University in Eldoret. The plant at JKUAT will produce 750,000 devises per year and create 3,000 jobs according to the ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru.

Currently however, the Government is relying on China to deliver 1.2 million devices for some 22,000 primary schools across the country.

Kenya has a total of more than 7,394,763 primary school children with more than one million being enrolled in Standard One.

With the abolition of school fees in primary schools, enrollment has increased in public primary schools with the highest increase being in the former Rift Valley Province, followed by former Eastern Province. The third highest enrollment is in the former Nyanza Province while the former North Eastern Province has recorded the lowest enrollment.

Implementation of the project continues to be controversial as many primary schools lack essential facilities  such as classrooms, desks and teachers.

20% of Schools without Basic Facilities

Education researcher Sarah Ruto was quoted by BBC as saying the digitization project was a good investment but she added that 20% of Kenya’s primary schools do not have the basic necessities.

Information Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru agrees there are issues that need resolving but says several government ministries are working in tandem to ensure that infrastructure in schools is improved alongside the laptop roll-out.

The intention, according to the CS, is to expand the project so all pupils can have better access to computers, says Mr Mucheru.

”If we don’t have our young children trained on digital, they will be even worse off than we think they will be.”