30 July 2014

Kenya: Elearning Innovations Conference and Expo Opens in Nairobi

The 2014 eLearning Innovations Conference and Expo opened on Tuesday July 29 in Nairobi and is set to run till July 31.

The 3-day conference is dedicated to ICT innovators, leaders and educators seeking to enrich learning experiences using diverse technologies.

The theme of this year's annual conference is "21st Century e learning: Transforming Education, Employment and Economics."

Giving his keynote speech at the event, Prof Jacob Kaimenyi, Cabinet Secretary for Education said: "If we teach today as we taught yesterday, we are robbing our children of the future of tomorrow", quoting the American philosopher John Dewey.

Professor Kaimenyi went on to emphasize on the governments dedication to the prioritization of ICT in education and added that it was part of the Reform Agenda.

The 2014 eLearning Innovations Conference is a private-public sector collaborative initiative. The event is organised by Talents Coaching and Consulting Kenya (TALENTS) and the Public Service Commission. Other sponsors and partners include the ministries of Education and ICT, Vision 2030 Secretariat, Kenya School of Government and iHub among other organizations.

Also expected to make a presentation at the conference is the Cabinet Secreatry for ICT Dr Fred Matiang'i.

eLearning is an umbrella term that refers to the "delivery of educational content or learning experiences delivered or enabled by electronic technology.

In January 2011, the then Education Minister, Prof Sam Ongeri appointed a Task Force (TF) to realign the education sector to Vision 2030 and the new constitution. There were a number of challenges and gaps that were identified by the TF and this gave rise to the big question: "Is the Kenyan Education System, its institutions and programs fit for the purpose?'

The TF noted that the development of Science, Technology and Innovation are key elements for the actualization of Vision 2030 and recommended that challenges affecting these sectors be addressed so as to enhance economic development in the country.

One of themain challenges noted by the TF was that it was only 2% of schools in the country that have the necessary infrastructure that was needed to strengthen the framework to allow efficient integration of ICT and that there was need to establish a National Centre for ICT Integration in Education be developed to counties. The TF also noted the importance of developing relevant materials for eLearning.

Since that time, the government, private institutions, organizations and also technology innovators have invested heavily in eLearning materials and applications so as to take modern ways of learning to schools that lack access to such facilities.

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