By Margaret Kalekye
NAIROBI, Feb 16 (NNN-KBC) — The Kenyan government’s laptop project for primary schools will be rolled out in June this year, says the Cabinet Secretary (Minister) for Information Communication Technology (ICT) Joe Mucheru.
The pilot run of the digital literacy project under the Proof of Concept (PoC) starts on Feb 22 in readiness for the full implementation of the programme. The PoC phase seeks to allow the successful bidders to prove their capacity to implement the full project at all 22,000 primary schools nationwide.
The 150 schools picked for the pilot project are distributed evenly across Kenya’s 47 counties, representing urban, semi-urban and rural schools. An additional nine schools have been picked under the special education schools category.
The two successful bidders for the 12-week pilot project are Moi University and JP Couto, and Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology and Positivo BGH.
Moi University will cover 26 counties, while Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology will cover 21 counties.
Mucheru said the first batch of 600,000 laptops would be delivered to 11,000 schools starting in June 2016 which will mark the beginning of the first phase of the project, with the second batch to be delivered to the other 11,000 schools by June 2017.
The pilot programme is guided by a detailed project road-map which will commence with testing of the ability to deliver on schedule, adherence of specifications of devices, installation and testing of both the content and the devices, usability, functionality and support to schools to ensure that everything works optimally.
The government has set aside 17.58 billion shillings (about 172 million US dollars) for deployment of ICT learning devices to schools, development of digital content, building the capacity of teachers and rolling out computer laboratories in all schools throughout the country.
Mucheru said the focus had now shifted to other components of the programme such as teacher training, power connections, content creation with the ultimate goal of job and wealth creation for Kenyans.
“We want to build a knowledge society, and this is a step towards that direction for our children and future generations,” he added.