Children enrolled in private primary schools in the country will now have access to the digital literacy program (DLP) following the launch of the digital learning and teaching devices developed by the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT).
The devices which come loaded with content developed and approved by the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development, will ensure all learners are exposed to the same content, equal learning opportunities through quality digital learning.
This was revealed by His Excellency, President Uhuru Kenyatta, in a speech read on his behalf by the Information Communication and Technology Cabinet Secretary, Mr. Joe Mucheru during the launch of the Taifa Elimu tablet, Wednesday, October 18, at Safari Park, Nairobi.
The President said, the launch of Taifa Elimu Tablet is a milestone towards bridging the digital gap in learning institutions across the country, adding, the launch of the digital solution underscored the “Government’s commitment to transform education sector by making digital literacy universally accessible to young learners at a very early stage in their lives.”
He hailed Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology and Moi University and their implementing partners “For the successful roll out of the digital literacy program as well as the transfer of ICT skills amongst public primary school pupils and tutors.”
This, the President observed, had demonstrated the capacity of Kenya’s higher learning institutions to provide home grown solutions by leveraging on local human and technological expertise as Kenyans to deliver on key development programmes.
The Head of State explained that “Our aspiration to implement DLP is drawn from national and global commitments as codified in various instruments such as the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), Vision 2030 and the Constitution of Kenya.”
Commenting on JKUAT’s ultra-modern assembly plant, President Uhuru observed that the assembly was a welcome addition to the country’s industrial sector, adding, it had the potential to “benefit the country by saving on foreign exchange reserves that would have gone towards importing devices for the digital literacy programme.”
He further urged other institutions “to emulate the example set by JKUAT by playing an active role in offering sustainable solutions to challenges facing our country, thereby contributing to the country’s national development agenda.”
The President revealed that under the JKUAT-Positivo Consortium, a total of 328,266 devices have been distributed to 7,234 primary schools spread across 21 counties. Teachers have also been trained to facilitate the smooth implementation of the project.
On her part, the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Mabel Imbuga said, the launch of Taifa Elimu Tablet signaled a new partnership between JKUAT and the private primary schools in Kenya, noting, it was a culmination of intensive talks between the University and private primary schools following the government’s implementation of the Digital Literacy Program in public primary schools.
Prof. Imbuga informed the gathering that JKUAT has been at the forefront in implementing the DLP in Kenya, after being tasked by government to supply, install and commission digital learning devices in public primary schools across 21 counties.
She further reported that JKUAT was finalizing on the project implementation and said the feedback from beneficiaries of the program indicated that there was “increase in school attendance by learners and interest to learn, besides enhancing teacher classroom management function while making teaching and content delivery, effective.”
Prof. Imbuga said, JKUAT will leverage on its strong distribution network across the country to ensure the Taifa Elimu devices are readily available.
On behalf of JKUAT Council, the Vice Chancellor appreciated the Kenya Private Schools Association and other stakeholders for partnering with JKUAT in ensuring the integration of ICT in education program was a success, and pledged to “provide safe, reliable and high quality services marked with the highest prescribed standards,” the VC assured.
On his part, ICT Authority CEO Robert Mugo stated that the government crossed the 1million mark in supplying free digital learning devices to public primary schools last month. He paid tribute to all the stakeholders for delivering on their mandate and appreciated the ICT ministry for providing guidance, support as well as contributing to the growth of ICT sector.
The Kenya Private Schools Association (KEPSA) Chairperson Ms. Mutheu Kasanga while welcoming the integration of ICT in education, especially the launch of Taifa Elimu tablet for pupils in private schools, appealed to the government to consider “waiving VAT on computing devices so as to entrench the spread of ICT in schools, in order to get close to 100 percent.”
Mr. John Temba from the Ministry of Education hailed JKUAT and Moi University for demonstrating that the country’s education system is vibrant. He said, his ministry was moving towards curriculum-based competency, and that technology would be critical in that respect, while the Principal Secretary, State Department for Investment and Industry, Mr. Patrick Nduati stated that the ICT sector had a unique opportunity to contribute to bridging the gap in the country’s GDP to a level requisite for Kenya to industrialize.
Present at the function included the University Chancellor, Prof. Geoffrey Ole Maloiy, JKUAT Council Members led by the Chairman, Prof. Paul Kanyari, Bertha Dena, Njoki Kahiga, Mr. Acher Arina, Dr. Eng. John Mativo; Deputy Vice Chancellors: Prof. Romanus Odhiambo (Academics), Prof. Otoki Moirongo(Finance), Prof. Victoria Ngumi(Administration)and Prof. Mary Abukutsa(Research, Production and Extension), Principals, Registrars, Directors who included JKUAT Industrial and Technology Park Director, Dr. Suleman Oketch.