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Digital learning on course to take off, says agency boss

By Augustine Oduor | May 1st 2020

Class One pupils from Getembe Primary School in Kisii township during a past class in 2016. [File, Standard]

The government has defended the Digital Literacy Programme (DLP), saying it is ready to support schools as they implement online learning.

Information and Communication Technology Authority (ICTA) Chief Executive Katherine Getao said all the ingredients for the success of DLP are in place.

“The digital devices are already in the schools, the teachers have been trained on the use of ICT for teaching, and most schools are connected to power,” said Dr Getao yesterday.

The CEO was responding to reports that the DLP may have missed a golden opportunity to support children’s learning at home after millions of tablets were purchased and distributed in schools.

Queries had been raised on whether all the schools had been issued with the learner devices.

Also questioned was whether all teachers had been trained and oriented to assist children integrate ICT in learning.

Further, some stakeholders wondered if curriculum content had been loaded into the devices for learners’ use.

Getao said so far 21,637 public primary schools have been supplied with tablets, representing 99.6 per cent of the institutions in the country.

She said the process of installing learning devices in 1,302 newly registered schools is ongoing, and that at least 331,00 teachers have been trained on ICT integration.

The CEO revealed that 218,253 teachers have been trained on the use of technology to implement the competency based curriculum (CBC), and another 93,009 teachers trained on the use of ICT and device utilisation.

In addition, 22,927 schools have an electricity connection. Of these, 19,042 schools are on the national grid, while 3,239 are using solar power.

Getao said CBC-aligned content for Grade 1 and 2 has been installed in the devices and they are currently working on content for Grade 3.

“It is clear from the data that since its implementation, the programme has registered positive outcomes,” she said.

The chief executive challenged teachers and parents to “make use of the opportunities presented by technology and the facilities that are already in schools”.

“With these already existing resources, we are building on a good foundation even as the government is doing everything possible to surmount the current challenges.”

Appraisal tools

Getao said the devices have helped schools in managing administrative work, such as completing teacher appraisal tools, and registration of candidates.

“The projectors are helping teachers in delivering their own content for classes that do not currently have content in the devices, such as Grade 4 to Grade 8,” she said.

Moving forward, she added, implementation of the second phase of the DLP would target Grade 4 to Grade 6.

Each school will be provided with advanced learners digital devices, three advanced teachers digital devices, five digital output devices and one wireless access point.

The second phase will also include implementation of internet connectivity to schools, dubbed Schoolnet, which will take various forms according to the unique characteristics of the country.

“This will utilise the existing National Optic Fibre spanning the entire country. There will also be the County Connectivity Project that will provide wireless last mile connectivity to government institutions and leased capacity from licensed telecom operators, including the recently launched Loon project,” said Getao.

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