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LAUNCHING THE DIGITAL LEARNING PROGRAMME

LAUNCHING THE DIGITAL LEARNING PROGRAMME

The Principal Secretary for Special Programmes Madam Josephta O.Mukobe has called on teachers to be diligent in teaching information communication technology (ICT) using the Digital Learning Programme that the government has introduced in all Public Primary schools in Kenya. Madam Mukobe was speaking at Mukuli Primary School in Vihiga Constituency in Vihiga County said the Digital Literacy Programme (DLP) is one of the flagship projects contained in the Jubilee manifesto that the Government promised Kenyans.

The programme in Kenya aims at catching children at infancy so as to encourage innovations using technology. She stressed that digital technology was here to stay and appealed to parents to ensure security of the devices kept within the schools. The programme aims to ensure that children right from primary schools acquired digital knowledge and skills set to enable them meet the challenges of the 21st Century.

Globally, she said, computerization was taking over all facets of life and there was no chance for resistance and Kenya should not be left behind in the race of achieving digital compliance. Mukuli Primary School was started in 1937 under the sponsorship of the Salvation Army Church. It has a population of 646 pupils of whom 85 were in standard one last year. According to the head teacher Madam Margaret Lisedi, the school faced a number of challenges some of which include poor infrastructure, lack fencing, dilapidated classrooms and lack of adequate teachers.

Following the list of challenges enumerated to the PS, Madam Mukobe urged parents and the school community to rediscover the spirit of harambee which enabled Kenyans just after independence to make huge strides in development. She said communities should go back to pooling resources and embracing the spirit of self-help spirit in undertaking community development as well as that of their schools. She noted that most of the challenges faced by schools would easily 2 be addressed by communities once they came together and pooled their resources without waiting for outside help. She appealed to parents to take it upon themselves to be responsible and provide for their children without waiting for the Government to provide everything.

‘You should be able to address those issues which are within your purview without waiting for the government” she added. The DLP programme is contained in the second Medium Term Plan (MTP) for the Kenya Vision 2030 and aims to ensure that children are able to identify opportunities and meet the challenges of today’s globally competitive environment. It is anchored in the Social Pillar of the Kenya Vision 2030 which aims to make Kenya a knowledge based economy.

The programme covers all the 23,000 public primary schools in the country targeting close to 1 million classes one pupils in 2016 and 2017. Installation of pilot devices in 150 selected schools across the country started in June 2016 with the aim of ensuring that devices were installed in all schools by December 2016.

Presently there is a drive to ensure that the rest of the schools get to have the devices as envisioned When these devises are brought to a school, they are accompanied by the provision of two laptops to the teachers, one projector; one USB port ; one external Hard Disk Drive (HDD) storage and router device to be used to access and store shared digital content The devices come with pre-installed content and at the moment, the Ministry of education, through the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) has developed digital content for Classes 1, 2 and 3. Content for the other classes will be added progressively. The education software is installed in the device which assists teachers in identifying their pupils including the answers that the pupils give.

The devices and the laptops for the teachers also have inbuilt batteries that are able to sustain power for 8 hours of the school period in a day. According to the ICT officer for Vihiga County Mr. Tony Ajode, schools are also provided with content access points distributer wireless network to address issues of power 3 outages. Schools are given hotline numbers that they can always call in case of problems with the devices for replacement of faulty devices. At the moment, the government is pushing towards installation of devices, Training of teachers as master trainers; Training of teachers as Trainer of Trainers (ToT) including primary school teachers.

The programme has enabled electricity connection to 23,376 schools of which 18,074 are on grid while 4,175 are on solar. Each school is also given an amount of Kes. 60,000 for the construction of a secure storage cabinet for the devices. Madam Mukobe was accompanied by Principle Secretary for Information & Broadcasting Mr. Sammy Itimeere, Vihiga County Commission Madam Pauline Dola, Vihiga Women Representative Mrs. Dorcas Kedogo, and Member of Parliament for Vihiga Constituency Hon. Yusuf Chanzu, Women Reresentatives for Uasin Gishu Hon Eursula Ngeny, Nyamira County Hon, Alice Chae and other County and national government officials