Kenya suspends its Ksh 17 billion one laptop per child programme

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The Kenyan government has suspended its over Ksh 17 billion plus school laptop project which was announced by president Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy in 2013 as a campaign promise.

The Jubilee Laptop Programme or Digital Literacy Programme as it was commonly known promised to distribute laptops to Class One kids in Kenya’s 25,000 public primary schools in the first three years of existence. However, by mid last year only about 19,000 public primary schools had received the tablets causing the Ministry of Education to suspend the project and instead build a computer laboratory per school.

“There has been a policy change in programme from one child-one laptop to the construction of computer laboratories for ICT integration,”
Principal Secretary Dr. Belio Kipsang told the National Assembly’s Education Committee.

The failure of the project has been due to cost implications, poor implementation due to lack of ICT skills capacity in many primary schools, and shift to provision of basic learning materials to all.

“The decision to implement the Digital Literacy Programme (DLP) was borne of the realisation that technology defines our world,” Education CS Amina Mohammed told the Nation. “It is the basis for competitiveness for individuals and nations. Equipping our young people with technological skills is an imperative we cannot ignore. It will prepare them to cope with the demands of the knowledge-based society and compete effectively in the 21st Century workplace.”

According to her the laptops project was neither misplaced nor a choice but a duty to build and maintain infrastructure and improve the quality of teaching and learning, which the government is still focused on.

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Reports indicate that about 70,000 teachers had been trained by 2016 and several billions had been allocated each year for the programme. Last year, Ksh 11.9 billion was allocated for the programme. TechMoran is awaiting for audit reports from the Office of Auditor-General to clearly state how much has been invested into the Ksh 17 billion project launched in 2013.

Apart from country losing taxpayers billions, other big losers in the project include the Jomo Kenyatta University of Science and Technology and the Moi University which were manufacturing 600 devices and 1,250 devices daily.