The Cabinet Secretary for National Treasury has set aside Ksh13.4 billion for the digital literacy programme commonly known as Laptop Project. The programme picked off after the joint ministries of ICT, Energy and Education rolled out the project with some schools getting the devices.
Mr Rotich while Reading the Budget Statement at Parliament Buildings on Wednesday said the amount will be used for buying laptops and building capacity for teachers as well building laboratories for computers in schools.
This will see more than a million Standard One pupils have access to a digital learning device and appropriate curriculum as 60,000 teachers have already been trained to support the digital learning.
“Mr Speaker, to further enhance access and transformation of the educational system through e-teaching and e-learning, we have set aside a total of KSh 13.4 billion for the Digital Literacy Programme (School Laptop Project) to schools, development of digital content, building capacity of teachers and rolling out computer laboratories for primary schools throughout the country,” he said.
He noted that the laptop idea has already become a reality for 11,500 pupils across the country. “We sampled some of the reactions after the initial roll out of the laptops to our schools: A 10-year-old boy by the name Maina from Roysambu Primary School said: “I can’t wait to learn new things and play educative games on the laptops.”
His head teacher, a Ms Sarah Nyota added, “It is not only the pupils who are enthusiastic at Roysambu, parents are giving it their full backing and are donating laptops to help expand the pool of computers so all 1,700 students get a chance to use them,” he noted.
Mr Rotich said some parents even helped build the storage facility and charging units for the laptops. The world out there is moving fast and we cannot, as a country, afford to remain behind in terms of technology.
He said a standard 6 pupil in Kakamega Primary School, Belinda Mwonja, was overjoyed with her new acquisition saying, “I have never used a laptop but I am sure after being taught, I will master it fast.”
In February, Moi University and Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) won the Sh17 billion tender to supply the laptops. The Cabinet Secretary said he had allocated Ksh14.2 billion to be be used for recruitment and training of teachers while ksh2.5 billion will be used for technical training. The CS set aside Ksh57.2 billion for university education.
Education CS Fred Matiang’i said recently that 12,000 devices were distributed to 150 schools across the country, even as the Government works on digitised content. “We are working on digitisation of education content. For now, we have digitised those for class one and two pupils,” Dr Matiangi said.
Dr Matiang’i said more than 300 teachers have been trained at JKUAT in Juja, Eldoret and Mombasa campuses on the use of the laptops.