The Government’s promise to provide free Laptop to every child in the country’s Standard One primary schools has received a major boost from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT), that has embarked on a programme to expand its existing computer assembly facility through partnership with Government and industry.
The initiative is in line with President Uhuru’s policy commitment to deliver free laptops to the country’s standard one pupils next year.
For some years now, JKUAT has been spearheading a computer assembly project –the Madaraka Computer initiative, as part of Vision 2030 flagship project funded by Ministry of Information and Communications and aimed at capacity building in ICT as well as assembling affordable computers that would be available to the public.
In a statement, the University’s Vice Chancellor Prof. Imbuga stated that as a leading university of technology in Kenya and in the region, it was the Institution’s duty to ensure that the Country’s children were able to access appropriate, relevant and affordable technology assembled locally. “The university has resident technological know-how and would seek to partner with giants like Microsoft and Samsung to make this dream of locally assembled devices a reality in the shortest time possible, she noted.
Prof. Imbuga pointed out that the free Laptop per child project would among other reasons promote innovation and integration of Technology in education, promote employment and wealth creation for the Kenyan people, as well as promote Public, Private Partnership (PPP).
The Vice Chancellor further pointed out that her University would put mechanisms in place to provide technical support to users of the locally assembled laptops and assist teachers maximize the use of the devices. JKUAT will work closely with Teachers Service Commission to accelerate capacity building of teachers, while in the local assembly project, JKUAT would inbuilt an e-waste management program to deal with environmental issues of the electronic waste that would originate from the project.
She said JKUAT was not only keen on assembling laptops locally, but was eying the broad computer chain activities. “JKUAT is working with partners to ensure that in addition to assembling computers locally, that teachers are trained adequately to be able to assist learners benefit from the use of the laptops, and that technology is used as a tool to improve the quality of teaching and learning… the program also seeks to ensure that before the computers are delivered to schools for use, relevant digital curriculum, digital content and e-books are pre-installed onto the device, she added. It was as a result of this, she stated, that JKUAT was partnering with Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development, (formally KIE) to provide digital curriculum and national digital content for all the school levels and Kenya Literature Bureau for e-books contents. In Addition JKUAT had also partnered with Kenya Literature Bureau to provide e-books to be preloaded onto the laptops… she said.
Already, JKUAT is closely working with a consortium of partners that include Ministry of Education, Technology giants such as Microsoft and Samsung to assemble laptops locally at JKUAT‘s – Nairobi Industrial and Technology Park based in Juja. The university has embarked on this ambitious project to be able to meet the demands and needs of transforming education in Kenya which has been advocated by the Government.