The Kenyan government is contemplating introducing free tablets to Kenyan schools rather than laptops, given the speed with which devices become defunct.
The free laptop per child initiative has been a key pillar of the new government’s policy, but also a subject of debate on whether it is the best time for its introduction with a teacher strike still on.While speaking to the Parliamentary Committee on Education, Science and Technology on the implementation of the laptops programme in schools, cabinet secretary for education Prof Jacob Kaimenyi said the moved was characterised by the very rapid change in software and gadgets in Information Communication Technology (ICT).
Kaimenyi added that with the current rate of change in technology laptops in the next five years will likely be irrelevant, forcing the need for the government to plan ahead so that the free gadgets are not declared obsolete.
“What Kenya needs to do is to move in tandem with technology so as to avoid the country being a dumping ground for obsolete goods. We have also established that young children prefer touch screen than devices that use a mouse,” he said.Kaimenyi added that the government in collaboration with a local university is to set up a manufacturing plant to make the gadgets readily available at a low cost.
“There is a consortium of private sector players willing to partner with Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) to set up a local assembly plant for the computers,” he said.
by Nick Sato