Elevate ICT to boost learning in our institutions

The global e-commerce market is growing. [iStockphoto]

Kenya aspires to emerge as one of the information and communication technology leaders among knowledge-based societies, and this goal is now within our grasp, thanks in large part to our nation's primary concern and commitment to education.

Without a doubt, peace is a precondition for national development, and Kenya’s social temperament of resolving intolerance and conflict by means other than violence has set us apart in Africa. I applaud you; MAKOFI KABISA TO YOU.

As a direct consequence of this, our elementary school system is tipping toward 100 per cent enrollment over the longest consecutive period of education time - (six to 15-year-olds, Class I to VIII, or Grade One to nine).

It is not lost on policymakers that children are more perceptive and observant than grown-ups.

These realities, therefore, make elementary school the ideal place to launch, enact, and advance our ICT vision. With the human capital potential bagged, Kenya can now envision computer technology delivering promising commercial benefits.

Without overstating the obvious, suffice it to say that the internet is more than a communications medium or a marketplace. Its exploitation is, and will be, the single most important driver of change in business, healthcare, government, education, and society. It is the transformational technology of our lifetimes.

According to one of IBM’s most prolific CEOs - LOUIS V GERSTNER - “There’s a school of thought that says the world has a new mass medium when a technology is being used by at least 50 million people. Radio hit that threshold in about thirty years; it took television thirteen years; it took cable TV ten years. The Internet has set a new standard. Less than five years after the birth of the World Wide Web, some 90 million people were connected. By the summer of 2002, that number exceeded 500 million people. More than half of them were accessing the Web in languages other than English.”

Today, there are over 5 billion people.

The wired world of the internet has ensured that the network is everywhere - from the office to the home, from the TV to your phone, from banking to shopping. Potential customers range from the largest corporations to every consumer.

This new internet era has unleashed a potentially lethal new weapon which has opened up vast markets ready for exploitation by those ready to dare, through hard work, foresight, and determination.

Our reaction must be to penetrate these markets by reinventing ourselves and generating innovation.

In order to make our education system relevant to our present and future needs, we must elevate ICT's status to join the familiar areas of the school curriculum, i.e., language, mathematics, science, and social sciences.

This is not as daunting as it sounds since ICT, like mathematics, enhances the child's resources to think and reason, to visualize and handle abstraction, to formulate and solve problems. That is why maths students tend to do well in ICT.

ICT will definitely open up the entire global E-Commerce marketplace for our exploration. Let us consider E-CDF (Electronic Constituency Development Fund) ostensibly to create products for the global e-commerce market.

-The writer is an entrepreneur