Now Sh19.5bn sought for laptops

By: OUMA WANZALA

The Education ministry is now seeking Sh19.5 billion for school laptops in the next financial year. This is Sh2 billion more than what was allocated this financial year — Sh17.5 billion.

Education Principal Secretary Bellio Kipsang said the laptops were a priority. “The additional funds will go to digital learning in the next financial year,” said Dr Kipsang.

The PS spoke during a public hearing on the education budget at the Kenya Institute for Curriculum Development.

In May, President Uhuru Kenyatta transferred his flagship project from the Ministry of Education to that of Information and Communications Technology and asked other ministries to help.

However, there has been a delay in shortlisting the 25 companies that bid in September. The winners were to be announced last month.

The plan is to give 1.2 million pupils in 11,078 primary schools laptops. It started with a budget of Sh24 billion, and was allocated Sh17.5 billion.

The contract was first awarded to Olive Telecommunications but it was revoked by the Public Procurement Administrative Review Board last year. The Indian company went to court.

The board had ruled the project was wrongly awarded to Olive because the Indian company is not an original equipment manufacturer and Education ministry officials had inflated the price by about Sh1.4 billion.

Dr Kipsang said yesterday that a number of education projects had been affected by lack of finance.

They include the promotion of teachers and pay rises which stand at Sh10 billion, and the teacher professional development at Sh91 million.

Others include the construction of 26 model special schools in counties, which requires Sh500 million, and Sh18 billion for free day secondary education.

He said investment in secondary education by the private sector was inadequate and to increase funding for special needs learners at all levels.

SOURCE: DAILY NATION