9 December 2009

Kenya: Text Books Now in CD Format

Nairobi — Text books can now be obtained in a CD format after a leading publisher of school books went digital.

The move by the Kenya Literature Bureau which publishes most text books used in schools has been lauded by headteachers.

Launched on the same day that the country switched from analog to digital TV, the publisher said they wanted to take advantage of the under-sea fibre optic cable in Kenya.

It now puts within reach the possibility of e-learning, with computers being used in schools and also opens possibility of top class schools offering distance learning.

Under the project, KLB will publish 10 of its school titles in English, Kiswahili, General Science and Social Studies in digital formats, and sold in compact discs (CDs).

Speaking during the launch, Education minister Sam Ongeri asked players in the sector to read the signs of the times and start preparing the stage for electronic learning.

"Electronic business now defines the future of investments in the publishing industry the world over," Prof Ongeri said.

The move by KLB comes three months after the national curriculum developer - the Kenya Institute of Education -started developing the digital content for various levels.

KIE has developed the digital curriculum for Form One, and Maths and Science for classes Four and Five.

The government has started disbursing funds to about 200 secondary schools for buying computers.

At the same time, a new loan scheme through which teachers can buy lap tops will start in January, next year.

Under the arrangement, the Teachers Service Commission in conjunction with Treasury will provide members with lap top computers and pay gradually without any interest charges.

But as the government moves to set up the digital learning, the greatest hurdle is to provide more than 20,000 primary and 6,000 secondary schools with computers.

Prof Ongeri revealed that the government was working on a five-year plan to ensure all schools have computers.

Mrs Eve Obara, the publisher's managing director, said the CDs, which hold an abridged book content, would be sold alongside the printed versions.

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