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Investing in ICT education for the next generation

By | December 9th 2009

By Muthoga Kioni

As a country we need to re-evaluate our current investment in ICT education. As part of this re-examination, we need a curriculum shake-up in the primary and secondary levels, which will prioritise the imparting of ICT skills.

Competitive and upcoming countries like India and Brazil have leveraged and exploited technology to achieve growth. They have increased awareness of ICT and Internet based tools as teaching aids in their educational institutions.

They have also helped teachers in all levels develop and impart technology skills to their students. It is no longer a choice, we have to give our schools an unprecedented amount of freedom in terms of how they use technology to teach. They should be allowed to teach children how to use Google, Wikipedia, Twitter, Facebook and blogging systems such as WordPress all before the age of 12.

The role of trained teachers cannot be over-emphasized. More ICT training and education of teachers is required to enable them best apply technology within the learning process. It should be possible, in the short-term, to connect nursery, primary and secondary schools across a district with a high-speed wireless network that will support increasingly media-rich education tools and specialised server-based applications like virtual libraries.

Virtual learning

The interactive e-learning and teaching resources used by students in such schools would also include interactive exam revision applications and video-rich teaching resources. Virtual Learning should be a reality in our schools. This would enable teachers to enrich lessons with digital content and allow 24/7 access to course-related assignments and learning resources.

What is needed to help educate the digital generation are networks that should provide sufficient bandwidth, resilience and flexibility that enables capacity to be increased as and when it is required.

A wired and wireless educational network backbone needs to be designed that can support video-conferencing in the classroom, administrations systems in the schools and wi-fi in the playground.

If the future competitiveness of our children is to be guaranteed we need to have a genuine focus on interactivity, collaboration and connectivity of our educational institutions.

All Kenyan children currently in primary or secondary school are likely to meet and use technology in their working lives as they move forward.

Only when ICT is prioritised in the curriculum and the ICT infrastructure is in place can Kenya’s next generation develop their skills so that their expectations can be met.

—The writer ([email protected]) is an ICT Security and Forensic Specialist.

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