How about computer lab for every school? State mulls over laptops

Last updated on 5 Jun 2013 00:00

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By Augustine Oduor and Leah Gondi-Ogondi

Kenya: The Government is now considering a computer laboratory model for every school to integrate Information and Communication Technology as opposed to one laptop for a child proposal. 

The House Committee on Education, Science and Technology yesterday heard that the cost implication of the Jubilee pledge to provide all Standard One children with laptops may not be viable, after all.

In its proposal, the Mministry of Education said Sh22 billion is required to implement the first phase to cover some 425, 000 pupils in 6,000 primary schools. The overall project has been estimated to cost Sh75 billion if all the 1.3 pupils expected to join standard one next year are factored in.

Another set of 7,000 pupils would be targeted in the second and third phase with an annual estimated budget of Sh26.4 billion.

It emerged in yesterday’s meeting that sinking billions of shillings into the project may not be a ‘universal priority’ in all primary schools hence need to look for other options to integrate ICT in schools.

Acting Education Secretary Enos Oyaya told the committee the ministry has listened to views expressed by Kenyans over the project and its viability in the long term.

He also said the ministry is also looking at the budgetary implications for its implementation and proposed to Members of Parliament other options being considered.

Mr Oyaya who was representing Education PS George Godia in the meeting, said under the new plan, each school will be fitted with a computer laboratory to serve all pupils.

“These computers will be used by all the children because each class will have a timetable to use them,” he said.

Also present were PS Crispus Kiamba, Kenya National Examination Council Secretary Paul Wasanga, Teachers Service Commission secretary Gabriel Lengoiboni and representatives of Kenya National Union of Teachers. Education stakeholders had expressed reservations over the implementation strategy of the laptops project.

They proposed a well-equipped computer room to serve the entire school population and not just class one pupils. Others also suggested  cheaper computers be developed or procured and be operated from one centralised server.

“With this it would be easy to control the content from one central server and also avoid cases where some pupils may access wrong information,” said Edith Ofwona, an IT expert and senior programme specialist with Canada’s International Development Research Centre.

Best value

Educationist Sara Ruto, Uwezo East Africa Regional Manager, challenged the Government to explore innovative and cost effective ways of implementing the project.

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