E-ready primary schools to be given priority in laptops programme
E-ready primary schools in Kenya will be prioritised in the Jubilee government’s free laptops programme, with 2,037 schools jumping to the front of the queue.
The Department of Education, Science and Technology’s summary report on budget for 2013/14 read by cabinet secretary Prof. Jacob Kaimenyi to the Parliamentary Committee on Education said schools with availability of electricity, classrooms and storage devices would be given first priority.
“Data shows that only about 2,037 schools (10 per cent) are connected to the main grid, 8,147 schools (40 per cent) are near the main grid with the remaining 10,184 (50 per cent) far from main grid and have to rely solely on solar or other alternative power sources,” read part of the report.
Additionally, only about 200 schools in Kenya have functional ICT equipment such as computers, televisions and radios.
Currently, there are 20,637 public primary schools in Kenya, whose total enrollment is 8.7 million students. It is projected that come 2014 there will be around 1.38 million learners joining standard one.
After several consultations between the ministry’s agencies and relevant ministries such as the National Treasury, Office of the President, and e-government on how to implement the programme considering e-readiness of the schools and limited resources, it was recommended that a whole school focus be taken.
This means that all 8.7 million children should be able to access laptops instead of only the 1.3 million standard one pupils.
However, only KSh17.37 billion (US$200m) is allocated to the programme for 2013/2014, which will not be enough to fully finance the first phase. The ministry has since recommended a phased programme targeting a defined number of schools, with the aim of achieving full coverage in the first three years of Jubilee government.