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The Digital Literacy Programme is bound to boost ICT skills uptake and reduce unemployment 

Lands Cabinet  Secretary, Prof. Jacob Kaimenyi  is shown how to naviate the tablet by Jackline Chepkoech at Koibem  Primary in Nandi. Photo  by  KNA TEAM.

Class one pupils of Koibem school in Nandi  county after the launching of DLP project. Photo by  KNA TEAM.

Class one pupils of Koibem school in Nandi county after the launching of DLP project. Photo by KNA TEAM.

The  Jubilee government flagship Digital Literacy Programme ((DLP) is bound to boost the uptake of ICT skills among Kenyans and reduce youth unemployment in the society.

The DLP project through ICT skills transfer to School children will enhance the country’s economic growth and the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in future.

Lands Cabinet Secretary (CS), Prof. Jacob Kaimenyi observed: “Kenya will take advantage of her position as a member of the Northern Corridor Integrated Project to supply the respective countries with the digital tablets and the laptops”.

While  speaking at Koibem Primary School in Nandi County where he launched the digital tablets for schools in the county, Prof. Kaimenyi said Uganda, Tanzania, South Sudan, Ethiopia and Somalia will be the beneficiaries.

“The local assembly plants at Moi University and Jomo Kenyatta University of Science and Technology have been tasked to produce the digital tablets and laptops for Kenyan schools and export the surplus to our neighbours,” said Prof. Kaimenyi.

He urged the institutions contracted to supply the learning digital devices to schools to demonstrate to Kenyans their potential to drive forward the project and Kenya’s industrialization efforts.

The CS  said with the implementation of the digital literacy programme, Kenya has staked its place in the Smart Africa concept where the country will emerge as an ICT hub and centre of technology transfer and innovation in the continent.

He asked the youth and entrepreneurs in the ICT sector to take advantage of the digital literacy programme to make money by developing content especially for those involved in curriculum development and learning content.

The Director of Corporate Services, ICT Authority, Elix  Ongaga said the government will introduce computer laboratories in all schools in the second phase of the programme to make the devices accessible to all the primary pupils in the rest of the classes within the shortest time possible.

All  schools in Samburu County will be connected to electricity by April, 2017 while households located on a 600 metre radius from a transformer will also be connected to electricity.

Speaking  while launching DLP project at Baragoi Primary School in Samburu North Constituency, Energy and Petroleum Cabinet  Secretary,  Charles Keter  said less than 500 out of the 23,411 primary schools in the country are yet to be connected with electricity.

“I am in-charge of energy and I promise Kenyans that all schools will be connected with electricity. The government has already bought transformers and materials required for the connection,” he said.

Keter said the government will engage network service providers such as Safaricom to supply data network to schools and community so as to access easily the internet.

Besides making work easier for teachers and pupils, the Cabinet Secretary said exposing children to the digital devices at an early age would transform them into responsible citizens who would use technology to improve the country’s economy.

“The Jubilee government has fulfilled one of its 2013 campaign pledges by introducing digital tablets and laptops in all primary schools”, said  Keter, adding that the government will also serve Kenyans better in other areas of development endeavours such as infrastructure.

At  the same time, the CS urged Samburu County parents to shun Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and invest in the education of their daughters, saying through education, their daughters will be armed with skills necessary to transform the society and the nation at large.

Keter   was  accompanied by Samburu County Commissioner, Mohammed Birik, Samburu governor, Moses Lenolkulal, Samburu North Member of Parliament , Alloys  Lentoimaga, nominated Senator, Ms. Naisula Lesuda among other local leaders.

Uasin Gishu County Commissioner, Abdi  Hassan said that 391 out of 427 primary schools in the county have been connected to the national grid while the remaining 36 schools will be connected before the end of the year.

Hassan said 1,253 digital tablets were distributed to schools in the county and 1,253 teachers trained on the use of the gadgets.

“Parents, teachers and pupils in the county are excited with the distribution of the digital tablets and laptops which will enhance learning in schools alongside reducing the workload for teachers,” he said.

The administrator said security committees and the police officers working on the 57 police posts in the county have been sensitized to work with the schools to enhance the security and the safety of the gadgets.

Chief  Education Officer,  Simeon Kemei challenged teachers in the county to upgrade their ICT skills in order to be digitally literate and competitive in the society.

David  Chirchir, Saramek Primary School head teacher, said the distribution of the 83 digital literacy gadgets will enhance learning in the school which also benefited from 25 laptops from a donor last year.

“Using the gadgets will be easy because we already have computers being used from standard one to eight,” he said, adding that most of the pupils were already conversant on the use of the learning devices.

Kenyans deserve credit for being receptive to technology and for adapting faster the digital economy concept than other East African regional States.

By  Joseph  Kipkoech

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