President Uhuru Kenyatta’s government has received negative reaction from the Kenyan parents in regards to the laptop project that his Jubilee government had promised during the campaign.
Musau Ndunda, chairman of the Kenya National Association of Parents said that the group thinks the money for laptops should instead go toward raising teachers’ salaries and feeding children.
The president had proposed to give laptops to 1.2 million children who start school every year as part of a wider plan to make the East African country an Internet hub. The program, which will cost the government $615 million in three years, is set to start later this year.
The country has a shortfall of 40,000 teachers while the 200,000 teachers across public schools in Kenya are currently striking over unpaid housing, transport and medical allowances promised 16 years ago.
Ndunda said Kenya also needs 42,000 classrooms. He said the money used for the laptops needs to be used to increase the number of children in the country’s school feeding program, meant to help children from poor backgrounds to stay in school and improve their health and nutrition.
Currently teachers do not have the capacity to implement the laptop project because they have not been trained and the government has not developed a curriculum for the project added Ndunda.
He said there are uncertainties that the laptops would be lost or stolen, mentioning the recent scandal in which 70 million textbooks in a free primary-school education program went missing.
Louis Otieno of Microsoft Africa Initiatives said in a statement that through the Partners in Learning Schools program in last five years, Microsoft had trained 32,600 teachers. The impact, he added, was being felt by more than 1.8 million children.
Louis alleged that the government has not reached a final agreement with Microsoft, which will implement the project.