A framework that defines the ecosystem for effective delivery of education using ICTs has been developed to help develop digital content, supply power to schools, prepare teachers on use of ICTs and make sure content is accessible through multiple platforms (devices).
Dubbed the National Digital Literacy program,the initiative will be run through a multiplicity of government agencies whose main coordinator is the Ministry of ICT through the ICT Authority.
Other government organs that have defined roles are the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, who is the project owner, Ministry of Industrialization & Enterprise Development, The National Treasury, the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum and the Office of the Attorney General.
“We want to see the success of the project. That’s why we are adopting a different strategy which focusses on the digital content for learners rather than the purchase of devices. We first have ensured that schools have adequate electrical power.
We are also ensuring that teachers are trained in ICT,” said Dr Fred Matiang’i, the Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of ICT.
The CS added that, the content will be accessible anywhere irrespective of device or platform. To ensure the success of the programme, the leadership will ensure stakeholder involvement, robust communication and a smooth transition for all parties involved.
The strategy puts emphasis on ensuring sustainability in the long-term for the initiative to achieve its vision of creating a knowledge-based economy.
The project will be governed through a three tier framework. This consists of an Oversight, inter-ministerial and a technical implementation committee.
The oversight committee will consist of the Attorney General and Cabinet Secretaries from the ICT, National treasury; Industrialization and enterprise development; Education, Science and Technology; Energy and Petroleum; and Devolution and planning. The inter-ministerial Committee comprise of Principal Secretaries in the above named ministries. The Technical committee will be chaired by the ICT Authority and will sit technical heads from the implementing agencies and key stakeholders such as TSC, KNUT and KEPSHA (Kenya Primary Schools Heads Association).
The program, who’s overall objective is to enhance learning in Kenya education system through the use of digital technologies, will have the Ministry of ICT providing leadership and take overall responsibility for the successful coordination of the initiative. The ICT Authority will oversee any technical matters regarding design , co-creation, selection and procurement of the appropriate technology solution as well as develop the partnerships necessary to ensure that the programme is underpinned by the establishment of a robust local capacity initiative to undertake first line assembly of the devices and accesories. Another role will be that of developing adequate device support maintainance and warranty frameworks that ensure adequate local participation and value for money.
The Ministry of Education, science and technology, is tasked with the development of curriculum content for use on the digital platform, identification of beneficiary primary schools, capacity building and training for teachers and other relevant education stakeholders. The ministry will also convert all Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) digital content to open source format to allow for delivery across multiple technology platforms.
The Ministry of Industrialisation and Enterprise development will develop and implement plans to ensure local assembly of devices and related accessories while the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum will fast track the completion of the electricity to all the identified primary schools.
Other government arms responsible are the National Treasury which will reallocate budgetary resources earmarked for the program and prepare budget and taxation consideration to support the establishment of local assembly plants for ICT devices and related accessories.
The office of the Attorney General, is tasked with undertaking all necessary processes and procedures to ensure the proper revocation of all previous public procurement activities related to the purchase of ICT devices for the integrated ICT for Schools program.
Already a strategy critical to the success of the program has been formalized as constituting four main areas which are Policy and Strategy, Digital Content Management, Device and Infrastructure Management and Program sustainability. Among the policies to be formulated are cloud computing strategy and ICT standards.
Other deliverables of the strategy are the establishment of a content framework and its conversion to digital platforms. On devices, the strategy advocates that they should adopt common standards with emphasis laid on content requirements, health and safety measures and environmental friendly equipment.
To sustain the program four key issues have been identified namely; financial sustainability, partnering with key manufacturers to set up local IT assembly plan, capacity building and change strategy.
The cost of the first phase of the project is estimated at 17 billion shillings and will deliver 1.2 million devices in the next two years to cover all public primary schools. The pilot phase of 150 schools is planned for September, 2015.