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1.2 million tablets delivered to schools

By Augustine Oduor | August 21st 2020

Class One pupils at Getembe Primary school in Kisii during a past lesson in 2019. [File]

The government has bought and delivered tablets to 21,637 public primary schools at a cost of Sh30 billion to help children continue learning online.

This represents 99.6 per cent of the total number of primary institutions in the country, with 1,168,798 tablets distributed for use by Grade 1 to Grade 3 pupils. This puts the average cost of a tablet at about Sh25,700.

Overall, 1,902 new schools have not received the devices due to budgetary constraints, but the ICT Authority said they would sign a framework contract with two assembly plants to continuously supply the devices to schools.

ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru yesterday further told the Senate Standing Committee on Education that 331,000 teachers had been trained on ICT integration. Of these, he said 218,253 teachers have been trained on the Competency Based Curriculum (CBC), and another 93,009 on ICT and device utilisation.

“Further training was conducted in December 2019 for 121,000 teachers in private and public schools,” Mucheru said.

However, with this number of teachers trained and schools supplied with learning devices, education stakeholders yesterday wondered why the Ministry of Education has resorted to community-based learning.

Education Committee Chair Alice Milgo questioned why the tablets are locked up in school cabinets when the coronavirus pandemic has posed learning challenges.

“We are living in difficult times where schools have been shut and countries that have opened learning early have been forced to shut. We must ensure learning is facilitated even during this time,” she said.

Senator Agnes Zani also questioned why children were not using the devices.

In its submissions, the ICT Ministry added that 42,284 teacher devices, 21,642 routers and a similar number of projectors have also been distributed to schools, with Mucheru adding that Sh15 billion is needed to connect these institutions to internet services.

He further told senators that the ICT Authority has developed the Schoolnet programme "in addition to the National ICT Infrastructure Masterplan meant to guide deployment of broadband connectivity across the country”.

He noted that 1,000 schools – one school per ward – have been identified under phase one of the Schoolnet connectivity project, which is being implemented by Unicef. It is expected to start in September and run to June 2021.

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