Multi-billion shilling laptop project a big flop, says report

A Ministry of Education report has returned a shocking verdict on President Uhuru Kenyatta’s multi billion shillings schools laptops project.

The team Commissioned by Education Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed in June to give an independent assessment on the curriculum implementation found that national implementation stands at a paltry five per cent.

So far, the government has spent Sh29 billion on the project. Initially, the government allocated Sh17 billion and later added Sh12 billion this financial year.

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“While supply and installation in schools stands at approximately 95 per cent nationally, implementation ails at five per cent in terms of utilisation of the equipment,” reads the report.

This means that majority of the laptops are not in use, several years after the project was launched and rolled out across public schools.

The report prepared by former Moi University Vice Chancellor Laban Ayiro found that the Digital Literacy Programme (DLP) gadgets are stored safely and rarely used for the intended purpose.

Locked up in cupboards

“Most of the computers are locked up in cupboards and in some cases in the homes of chiefs and other authorities for secure custody,” reads the report.

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Prof Ayiro’s report further says that training in technology application and attitude change was not effectively rolled out due to weak conceptualisation of the training and short-term interest.

The findings mirror statement made by Education Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed when she appeared before the National Assembly’s Education committee in October.

Speaking on the status of the DLP, the CS said teachers had been slow to adopt information and communication technology.

“The rate at which teachers are embracing the use of technology is low due to lack of practice and support/training,” she told the MPs, adding that training of all teachers in DLP was yet to be completed due to delayed funding.

The CS revealed that teachers are still ill–prepared to implement the programme for primary schools.

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Amina noted that the laptops are also being mishandled and stolen, hampering implementation of the Jubilee administration’s pet project. The CS announced in October that at that time, about 1.1 million learning devices, including servers and routers, had been distributed to schools by March.

She said cases of misuse had been reported despite each school being given Sh60,000 to build secure storage for the laptops.

Speaking at the meeting, Committee chairman Julius Melly asked the Ministry to ensure that schools protect the learning devices.

“It will be a sad thing if we struggle to allocate funds to buy the devices only for them to be stolen,” said Mr Melly.

Amina announced that some 983,271 tablets had been distributed across 19,565 public schools. Only 2,164 are yet to get the devices. According to data she tabled before the parliamentary committee, some 47,902 teachers’ digital devices had been distributed to the schools and a similar number of digital content servers and wireless routers.

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The CS said there was need to train all teachers in special needs education institutions and regular public schools.

She also called for the creation of regional ICT hubs where teachers could go for training or refresher sessions during school holidays.

Amina told MPs that 91,000 public primary school teachers in Grades One, Two and Three had been trained in DLP.

“We have also trained 325 secondary school teachers as ICT champions. The training was conducted in two phases, with 156 champions already trained under phase one and 175 trained in phase two,” the CS stated.

Amina said 30 master trainers had been instructed in the ICT programmes. 

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Ministry of EducationPresident Uhuru KenyattaAmina Mohamed