31 July 2014

Kenya: 3,000 Teachers Trained in ICT, Says Kaimenyi

MORE than 3,000 teachers have completed their computer courses. The training was meant to prepare teachers for the free laptop project in primary schools.

Education Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi yesterday said the teachers "are ready to cascade ICT training to other teachers at school level." In August 2013, 150 master trainer teachers in ICT successfully went through their course, which has now been "cascaded" to more than 3,000 teachers.

An earlier target of 61,351 teachers to be trained by January 2014 has fallen behind schedule as Kaimenyi indicated that the target could be accomplished by the end of this financial year.

He said although the provision of computing devices has been temporarily stopped to await a ruling by the court, progress has been achieved in ICT teacher training and connecting electricity to schools.

Losing bidders for the project, Hewlett-Packard Europe and Haier Electrical Appliances Corporation, had the Public Procurement Oversight Authority cancel the Sh24.6 billion tender won by Olive Technologies of India.

Olive has since moved to court to challenge the decision by the PPOA. Kaimenyi was speaking at the International Elearning Innovations Conference at a Nairobi Hotel.

He said the government has prioritised the integration of ICT in primary education as a curriculum reform agenda to address access, equity, and quality education delivery.

"Towards this end, the government has set aside and 'ring fenced' funds to be used for the acquisition of computing devices for learners, training of teachers, digital content development as well as infrastructure refurbishment of schools," Kaimenyi said.

There is a budget allocation of Sh17.4 billion for what is described as a comprehensive elearning programme. An additional Sh320 million for the purchase of computers for laboratories in class 4 to 8 is also there.

Kaimenyi said10, 157 primary schools have electricity with another 600 expected to be connected to solar power. Despite Kaimenyi's progress report, power connectivity to 4, 400 more primary schools by June this year has not been realised.

There are more than 20, 000 public primary schools which Kaimenyi says the government is committed to have them connected to power by the end of this financial year. About 10, 184 will rely on solar power.

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