Some 2,164 primary schools are yet to benefit from the Class One tablets project, more than two years since it was rolled out.
The one-laptop-per-child idea in Jubilee’s Digital Learning Programme was meant, ostensibly, to entrench information and communication technology (ICT) in teaching. President Uhuru Kenyatta's flagship programme was initiated in 2013.
Education Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed admitted there were several challenges when she appeared before the National Assembly Education committee on Tuesday. Ms Mohamed began with a breakdown of distribution of the devices to schools. She said 19,565 out of 21,731 institutions have received them.
“Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) has installed devices at 7,256 schools while Moi University has reached 12,309. Overall, 1,067,745 digital devices have been installed," she said, but added that many specials schools have not received the devices.
Homa Bay County has the highest number of schools — 278 — that are yet to benefit from the project. Siaya follows at 176, and then comes West Pokot at 167 schools and Migori at 165. It is only in Elgeyo/Marakwet that all schools have the tablets.
Regarding the challenges, Ms Mohamed said they include inadequate funds, lack of practice and technophobia. She also cited increased cases of theft of the devices, mishandling and low usage due to poor teacher-ICT integration.
“There is also lack of internet connectivity. Some teachers use their mobile phones to access an appropriate app to download content for teaching," she said, adding that infrastructure is inadequate as some schools do no have designated ICT rooms.
The minister also noted that training has not been completed due to delayed funding. She added: "Most counties had the National Optic Fibre Backbone (NOFBI) that terminated at the county headquarters with no link distribution."
The CS said, however, that the government is determined to finalise device deployment to all schools and increase usage and security.
Ms Mohamed told the committee, chaired by Julius Melly (Tinderet) that 91,000 Class One to Three teachers had been trained. Two teachers from each public primary school were taken through the Digital Literacy Programme, she said, but noted that delayed funding has affected this.
Ms Mohamed also said secondary schoolteachers were trained to champion integration in teaching and learning in each of the 325 sub-counties. The training was conducted in two phases, phase one having 156 champions and phase two with 175.
The CS wants regional training hubs for teachers especially during holidays. “This can be forums to build competencies, share experiences and enhance professional collaboration. Each school should have at least one trained teacher who is passionate and conversant with use of digital devices." She said 23,851 schools have benefited from the electrification project.