Kenya Plans to Roll Out eLearning Initiative
by Logan Smith
The United States has access to the most advanced technologies; we have education resources and training tools as well as various electronics and gadgets for our amusement. We are so used to having the newest and next best thing that we forget how technologically advanced we are compared to the rest of the world. Many countries are just now realizing the benefits of offering online learning for academics and skills training. Many other countries know the benefits but have not been able to find room in their budgets for the advancements.
Kenya is one of the hopeful countries looking to establish a web-based society in the near future. One report from 2006 explained how the New Department for Africa’s Development was working closely with Kenya’s government to introduce an e-learning primary and secondary school. They had selected six secondary schools to serve as demos for the project. The Ministry of Education pushed for e-learning to prepare young people for a more technologically advanced future. Supporters of the National Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Policy recognize that young people are creators and early adopters and that “they must therefore be empowered as learners, developers, contributors, and future decision makers.”
Just this month an article in the Nairobi Star interviewed Lydia Nzomo, Director of the Kenya Institute of Education, who said the project should roll out in the next three years. While it may seem on-track, Nzomo said that any delays will increase the cost of the project. She said the program has had some hiccups because some schools only have outdated and obsolete computers. The program has been launched using about 20 pilot schools so far.
The stakeholders of the Kenya Institute of Education held a meeting to hear suggestions on improvements to the digitized curriculum and the e-learning strategy. One of the biggest problems so far is that internet access in schools remains low at 42.5% as well as teachers that will need training with ICT themselves. The strategy integrates knowledge of South Korean and Malaysian strategies, who implemented the same programs in their schools.
This is a large project for the country, and Education Secretary George Godia said that the Ministry of Education has allocated roughly $4.8 million to the ICT Initiative. It has been estimated, however, that the whole project will cost around $30 million to ensure that the schools are equipped with computers. Their ICT initiative will expand the country’s education resources, offer an interactive education and a more student-centric curriculum.
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