What are the Kenyan ICT Ministry’s plans for 2016?

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Well it looks like it’s going to be a year of fulfilled promises for Kenya, particularly in the area of education. Which is good news for Kenyan entrepreneurs and SMEs. Sources on ground in Kenya say that the biggest thing the Ministry of ICT will be involved in this year is the Digital Literacy Programme.

The goal of the project, which is to enhance learning in the Kenyan education system through the use of digital technologies, will see government engage local entrepreneurs in the equipping of public primary schools with laptops (almost a million units). Already, the first phase of the project is almost done, which is to hire a contractor who will build and supply the laptops. The ICT Ministry kicked off 2016 announcing the eight bidders that will be considered for the contract. Among them are local businesses like BRCK and Trans Business Machines, as well as six Kenyan universities (in partnership with foreign companies).

The contract also requires successful bidders to install server routers and projectors to over 22,000 public primary schools nationwide. Furthermore, whoever wins this contract will have to establish a local assembly facility in order to boost the ICT manufacturing and assembly industry in Kenya (safe to say whoever wins it has their work cut out for them). This ensures that there will be a transfer of skills to Kenyans working to assemble the devices, and maintenance will be made easier. The National Treasury has been tasked with preparing budget and taxation considerations for the successful bidders, whoever they are.

The Digital Literacy Programme is a cross-ministerial collaborative effort between the Ministry of ICT and the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, Industrialization and Enterprise Development, Energy and Petroleum, the National Treasury, and the Office of the Attorney General.

“The Ministry of Industrialisation and Enterprise development will develop and  implement plans to ensure local assembly of devices and related accessories while the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum will fast track the completion of the electricity to all the identified primary schools. The National Treasury will reallocate budgetary resources earmarked for the program and prepare  budget and taxation consideration to support the establishment of local assembly  plants for ICT devices and related accessories.”

The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, will develop curriculum content for use on the digital platform, oversee capacity building and training for teachers and other relevant education stakeholders.

“We are also ensuring that teachers are trained in ICT,” said Dr Fred Matiang’i, the Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of ICT.

The Education ministry will also convert all Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) digital content to open source format to allow for delivery across multiple technology platforms.

Since 2013, the Digital Literacy Program has been in the works but experienced a few hitches along the way. This year, it seems the ICT Authority is determined to see it through to completion. If the project can be concluded by the end of 2016, which is the plan on paper, one of President Kenyatta’s campaign promises – to make technology mainstream and ubiquitous among school children – will have been fulfilled.

Sometime late last year, Kenya’s mobile penetration hit the 88 % mark. It shouldn’t be surprising to see the ICT Authority doubling down on internet penetration also this year.

happywheels

I'm 3 parts geek, 1 part funny man, and the last part is between me and my shrink. Technology Editor at Enterprise54. I write about (obsess over) gadgets, tech and startups. Send me stuff.

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