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Over a million tablets distributed to kids, Kenya's President Uhuru says

By Fredrick Obura | September 2nd 2020
Pupils sampling tablets

NAIROBI, KENYA: The government has distributed over one million tablets to children in primary schools, President Uhuru Kenyatta has disclosed.

Speaking during a virtual high-level meeting of the United Nations Generation Unlimited, he said the initiative was part of strategies in addressing barriers inhibiting Kenyan youth from succeeding in the digital space.

"Through the Digi School programme, we have provided over one million tablets to children in primary schools," he said.

In 2017 JKUAT and Moi University led two consortia in scooping the Sh17 billion tender to produce, supply and install digital learning hardware and software for all public primary schools.

President Kenyatta spoke on the role of the youth as change-makers at the conference that was addressed by several world leaders among them President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, President of the World Bank David Malpass, and IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva.

The President told the meeting, also attended by ICT, Innovation and Youth Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru, that social institution, the environment especially the education system and lack of self-drive were among the major setbacks impeding the youth from reaching their potential as change-makers.

He said the African education system was structured to support agrarian production systems and not the innovations needed in the 21st century.

Uhuru urged the global community to start viewing and engaging young people as an asset with the current value and not as a future promise.

He noted that if properly nurtured and provided with the right opportunities, the youth have unlimited potential to become change-makers.

He said his decision to appoint young people into top Government positions is a deliberate intervention meant to provide the youth with an opportunity to be mentored and be prepared for more senior positions.

"And this is why in Kenya, I have deliberately appointed young people to the senior rank of “Chief Administrative Secretary”, second only to Cabinet Secretary Position.

"The aim is to provide them with the opportunity to be properly mentored and prepared for even more senior positions," the President said.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guteress called on countries to utilise digital connectivity to create opportunities for the youth.

The UN boss decried the widening global digital divide during the current Covid-19 pandemic terming it, "a crisis within a crisis".

Mr Guteress challenged young people to step up and lead the struggle for equality in access to global resources including internet connectivity.

On his part, Rwandan President Paul Kagame who is the Co-Chair of the Generation Unlimited Leaders called for the coming together of all stakeholders to generate new ideas for investing in the youth.

Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown called on the G7 and G20 group of countries to commit USD 10 billion for the expansion of digital technologies while Mr. David Malpass said the World Bank was working with stakeholders to address the varied digital needs of individual countries.

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