E-Learning Taking Root in Education Institutions in Kenya

Computing

The days when children came home with dozens of books to finish homework are numbered. Online homework is now being introduced in some Kenyan schools and online companies such as AccessKenya are cashing in on the concept.

As the city's top schools and universities continue to incorporate the Internet's resources into studies, the move will create an academic divide between the children who have Internet access at home, and those who don't.

According to research, children with computers and Internet access at home and at school perform better in some subjects than those who do not. In the US, educators are now introducing a model where schools provide each student with a laptop, which has Internet connectivity. The laptop holds almost all of the student's work, and interfaces directly into the school's Intranet and records.

The UK is testing similar programmes, against the backdrop of a government commitment to eventual home Internet access for all pupils. Will this work in Kenya? According to a survey by Access Kenya Group, Nairobi's leading education institutions are all moving towards e-learning.

The University of Nairobi has said e-learning is the only way of efficiently managing a student body. Kenyatta University now provides wide-ranging e-learning and online materials and United States International University has moved further still, building a system for online studying in all its courses.

Local schools such as St Mary's School, Braeburn, Peponi, Consolata Shrine, Rusinga and Peponi are all fully connected with their own Intranet systems, which they have integrated into curriculum-driven studies.

However, Dr Andrew Riechi of the Institute of Policy Analysis and Research said the lack of a policy framework on e-learning has hampered development of technology in school.

But Nancy Imunde of AccessKenya is enthusiastic about the niche that will be served due to the changes " The next important step for us, as a group, was to offer broadband to home users. The evidence is that many households now need this service to keep top students abreast of everyday learning material."

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