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Parents association opposes computer project, terms it white elephant in the offing

By  By CHARLES NGENO
Updated Wednesday, June 19th 2013 at 00:00 GMT +3

By CHARLES NGENO

A parents’ association has dismissed the recent allocation of Sh53.2 billion in the Budget for free laptops project.

The project is intended to benefit about 1.4 million pupils set to join Standard One next year. Kenya National Association of Parents secretary general Musau Ndunda said the project is not a priority and expressed fear that it will turn out to be another white elephant.

He noted that there is a lot of wastage in the education sector because the Government does not carry out assessment of projects it implements.

“There are several white elephants that have been initiated in the Ministry of Education. The Economic Stimulus Package did not take off even after the Government injected Sh30 million into the programme,” said Ndunda.

He pointed out that more than 70 per cent of schools are not ready to receive the laptops. He added that the Government should have prioritised hiring of more teachers and improvement of infrastructure in schools.

“The Jubilee government should have to prioritised recruitment of 40,000 teachers to enhance learning in schools. Sh15.4 billion should have been set aside to hire teachers to ease shortage that currently stands at 80,000,” said Ndunda. He regretted that Sh120 million that was earmarked for fire safety project in 2004 has not done much and students continue to be accommodated in dangerous dormitories.

“Before a project of such magnitude is initiated, the Government should evaluate how many past projects have succeeded. Sh7 billion worth of books have gone down the drain in the text book programme for primary schools,” said Ndunda.

He added the laptop project is likely to fail because it has not received goodwill of several stakeholders.

“How will the programme succeed if teachers who are expected to implement it have opposed it,”posed Ndunda who appealed to the Government to shelve the idea for now.

In his Budget presentation last week, National Treasury Secretary Henry Rotich said Sh53.2 billion will be used to buy laptops for Class One pupils, development of digital content, building capacity of teachers and rolling out of computer laboratory for Class Four to Class Eight students in all schools.

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