Head teachers want roll out of computer programme delayed

Head teachers have asked that the roll out of the computer project be stopped until all Class One teachers are well trained to handle the devices.

Speaking during a press conference in Kisumu, Kenya Primary School Head Teachers Association (Kepsha) National Treasurer Josephat Otiende said that teachers were only taken for a two-week training prior to the distribution of the tablet computers. He said the period was not adequate for the teachers to understand how to use the devices well.

"We suggested that the Ministry of Education roll out the programme in a systematic way. You cannot rush a programme that is technical and expect greater results," said Otiende

He added: "We are concerned of the move to rush the programme against our recommendation that a well laid out programme on teachers' training be laid out and implemented.”

He said the programme should not only target Standard One pupils as digital education is necessary for all learners.

Refresher course

"The Government should also pay attention to Class Eight leavers who need the digital knowledge more than the Class One pupils. Every other pupil should be brought on board to interact with the digital content ahead of the roll out of the new curriculum system," he said.

Class One pupils from Getembe Primary School in Kisii town learn how to use recently issued tablets. Head teachers have asked that the roll out of the computer project be stopped until all Class One teachers are well trained to handle the devices. (PHOTO: DENISH OCHIENG/ STANDARD)

He suggested that the teachers be taken through a comprehensive refresher course and that the training be a continuous process during the implementation phase.

Moi University ICT Director Edwin Ataro who is in charge of overseeing the project in 21 counties in Western and Nyanza region shared the same sentiments. He said lack of know-how by the teachers on how to handle the devices is wanting.

"We had a one week training for the teachers recently and we realised that almost three quarters do not even know what a cursor is. The level of knowledge is wanting considering that the teachers only went through a two-week training prior to the roll out of the initial stage. Moi University is putting in place an effective teacher training programme that would address the gaps." said Prof Ataro.

Uwezo Kenya Country Director Emanuel Manyasa said that the programme should not have been rushed.

"The digital education programme should not have been implemented right now because we are in the process of changing the curriculum," he said.

Mr Manyasa challenged the Government to implement a continuous training process for the teachers involved in the programme and not assume that the two-week training will enable them to make good use of the gadgets.

He warned that if teachers do not have the technical capacity to use the gadgets, children will end up under utilising the devices.

"The first phase needs to go through the full cycle which is pilot, evaluate, improve and fully implement. The Government then needs to slow down on the roll out so that it does not escalate to the national scale so that the challenges do not overwhelm us as with the current education system,” said Manyasa.