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6,000 primary schools picked for free laptop project

By BY AUGUSTINE ODUOR
Updated Thu, May 30th 2013 at 00:00 GMT +3

BY AUGUSTINE ODUOR

Kenya: The government has identified 6,000 primary schools that will pioneer the ambitious laptop-for-schools project just six months away.

The Jubilee government’s fl agship project will be implemented in three phases, the first of which is projected to cost Sh22 billion, according to the Ministry of Education documents seen by The Standard.

Education ministry offi cials estimate that about 425,000 pupils will be provided with the laptops starting in January, out of the 1.3 million children expected to join Standard One next year.

In his presentation to the House Committee on Education Science and Technology, Education secretary Jacob Kaimenyi said Sh75 billion will be required for a one-off implementation of the Jubilee government’s pledge to see all pupils joining schools get laptops.

However, given the cost implications, the ministry has proposed to roll out the project in three phases. According to the estimates tabled by Kaimenyi, each laptop will cost Sh28,000, a sum that may be out of reach of many parents in public schools whose children are covered by the project.

After phase one, over 7,000 schools will be targeted for the second and third phase, which will be done in the second and third year respectively.

The action plan does not provide details of the ministry’s plans to deal with those who do not receive the equipment.

The government has put the burden of security of the laptops on parents and learners meaning that they will bear the cost of replacing them incase of lose or damage.

Yesterday, parents led by the chairman Kenya National Parents and Teachers Association, Mr Nathan Barasa, opposed the idea of parents shouldering the replacement cost burden.

They also expressed fear that their children could be exposed to criminal gangs who may target them to steal the laptops.

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