Kenya: Students Showcase Kenya's First Tablet


The Jubilee Manifesto to have every class one child have access to a laptop may soon be realised, thanks to a locally made tablet established by a youth group.

The tablet dubbed Student with A Goal (Swag) has been made locally except for the screens which are not locally available, according to Innovator Society of Kenya information director, Omar Kochua. The group has 30 members.

"We do not have the capacity, knowledge or resources to make the screens locally but everything else is locally assembled and made," Kochua said. "The operating system is also borrowed but we hope with time we will make this here in Kenya."

The idea, he said, is aimed at making computer knowledge accessible to primary and underprivileged secondary schools in Kenya, adding that they are in talks with the Kenya Institute of Education to have the syllabus and even text books content loaded in the programming.

The computer tablets were a big attraction at the just ended second National Science, Technology and Innovation exhibition that was held at the KICC in Nairobi under the theme 'science, technology and innovation for the realisation of Kenya Vision 2030 and beyond'.

During his opening remarks, Prof Abdulrazak Shaukat, National Council for Science and Technology chief executive officer, said despite many challenges, it is important to remind ourselves that our youth are a resource that if channelled appropriately into our national production system can be used to create opportunities and wealth.

The tablet costs between Sh15,000 to Sh25,000 depending on the programmes one wants installed or loaded. It is solar powered hence suitable for schools in rural areas.

According to Kochua, the computer tablet can also be powered through kinetic energy from the merry-go-round-swings for those schools that have them as a backup plan.

In addition, the Swag tablet is portable and not as cumbersome as a laptop would be for a standard one child. So far about 10 tablets have been distributed to Nyandarua High School and Kileleshwa Primary School.

Kochua said: "We hope the government can work with us instead of buying laptops from elsewhere. We have proved that this can be made locally and this will be one way of promoting local innovators. Financing is a big challenge and we have to rely on funding from non-governmental organisations and it would be a plus to work with the government for mass production."

Andrew Odeki, 20, one of the innovators of the Swag tablet, said the touch-screen tablet is user-friendly especially for children and it comes with a user guide for parents who would wish to buy the tablets for their children or for individual use.

"Young people have to fight for opportunities and if you have a tangible idea, look for a way to make it work for income creation and national development," said Odeki, a second year bachelor of civil engineering student at Masinde Muliro University.

Abdulrazak is optimistic that by exhibiting various innovations, the public will understand the benefits and consequences of scientific inventions and innovation as an engine and driver of knowledge-based economy in Kenya.