JKUAT Laptop Assembling to start in October

The proposed initial assembling of the Jubilee Laptops by a consortium spearheaded by Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) is scheduled to start in October 2013.

The project which will be based at the JKUAT’s Nairobi Industrial and Technology Park in Juja will have three assembling lines when completed, and is expected to offer employment to about 12,600, most of who will be in the youth bracket.

Prof. Mabel Imbuga displays the concept note developed by the consortium towards actualizing the country’s one laptop per child dream

According to the University’s Vice Chancellor Prof. Mabel Imbuga, the University took a leading role in the project because of being a leading University in ICT capacity development, research and innovation with previous experience in computer assembly having previously assembled the Madaraka PC Computers commonly referred to as E-Mado computers in 2005.

The Consortium of 11 public, private sector partnerships brings together key experts in various fields, each of who will make a contribution towards the realization of the project. The experts are drawn from the hardware, software and applications industry, curriculum, e-content and e-books developers, training and capacity building institutions as well as technical support and connectivity service providers. It aims at creating a digital generation through integration of ICT innovations and technology in the Kenyan education system for enhanced quality teaching, learning, job and wealth creation sustainable by well linked public, private partnership (PPP) networks.

In the Consortium, JKUAT as the project leader will be charged with the responsibility of assembling the computers, building ICT capacity of teachers and technical support service providers. The Ministry of Education will be responsible for the Government policy, strategy and resource mobilization, The Teachers Service Commission will be responsible for teacher management and professional development (teacher capacity building), while Samsung and Microsoft Corporations, two world renowned international giants will be responsible for the provisions of hardware and software solutions respectively.

Others playing major roles in the partnership include the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (formerly Kenya Institute of Education) whose sole responsibility will be the inputting of curriculum and digital content (e-content) in the assembled computers, while the Kenya Literature Bureau will take care of the curriculum based e-Books (textbooks). Technology Partners Ltd will be charged with the responsibility of distribution of the laptops, technical support, publicity and market development, the British Council will be responsible for Capacity Building for education stakeholders, the Kenya ICT Trust Fund will play the role of resource mobilization and project development while Digital Pipeline Africa will be responsible of e-Waste management.

The project which is anchored on Kenya’s Vision 2030 that seeks ‘to have a globally competitive quality education, training and research for sustainable development’, also aims at tackling the problem of access to the right ICT facilities and the improvement of computer to pupil ratio in schools, empower teachers with the right skills to handle digital age tools and impart digital age skills to pupils while also embedding the use of locally relevant content for effective teaching and learning n schools.

Local computer assembly and the Nairobi Industrial and Technology Park are two of the University’s Kenya Vision 2030 flagship projects it is mandated with. The two projects provide the leverage for local assembling of the laptops for schools, creation of jobs and wealth as well as the development of an entrepreneurial culture that can convert classroom ideas and innovations to viable commercial enterprises for national development. Due its niche in the ICT and technology field, JKUAT is well placed in realizing the technology needs of the Nation and provide the platform for the transformation of Kenya’s education for the 21st century and the creation of digital age learners and teachers.

JKUAT with a current population of 31,000 students, graduates about 1,500 students annually in computer science, computer technology and information technology, making it a leading university in the technology world in the region.

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