The Laptop Project: Executive Summary

   DLP Executive Summary

The Government of Kenya through the Ministry of Education in 2013 started the Digital Literacy Program meant to integrate technology in teaching and learning in basic education system. The programme had five projects components each requiring agency mandated with the project component to be involved for successful implementation. The programme failed to take off largely due to its design and leadership approach which did not facilitate extensive consultation and involvement of agencies mandated with key project components. The government on noticing the challenge ,in 2015, a new approach was adopted where each agency mandated with a project component was allocated the project with a policy guide to facilitate implementation. The government, through a cabinet memo, restructured the programme as follows; Ministry of Education to provide policy guidelines for the project, KICD to develop content, TSC to train teachers , Kenya Power and REA to electrify schools , Ministry of industrialization to ensure set up local assembly plants and ICTA to provide learning devices to schools and coordinate implementation. This new approach enable the programme to be implemented with minimum challenges.

Kenya has endorsed the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) for 2015 which were ratified by the United Nations. The second MDG targets the achievement of universal primary education, which Kenya has achieved. However, the spirit of MDG 2 goes beyond merely the attendance of children at primary school to issues such as quality, ensuring that children attain the right skills and competencies at the primary level of education. Additionally, Kenya subscribed to Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) which further emphasized inclusive and equitable education and promoted lifelong learning opportunities for all.

To provide a rich, digital environment, the government has undertaken to integrate ICT across all levels of education through the Digital Literacy Programme (DLP). The Programme is aimed at imparting the required competencies for 21st century economy. This programme is being implemented in three phases whereby Phase I targets young learners of grade 1 to 3, phase II targets learners of grade 4-6 and phase III targets advanced learners of grade 7 and above.

The roll out of phase I is complete and the government is now in the process of implementing phase II in the next three years beginning 2019 to 2022. The programme is fully integrated with Competency Based curriculum [CBC] which the government is currently rolling out under the Ministry of Education.

This next phase recommends full integration of the programme with CBC, setup of smart classrooms through improvement of the current facilities, provision of variety of learning materials in the classrooms among them, advanced digital devices, programmable output devices, projectors, online updated contents, provision of affordable electricity to school, training of teachers, provision of internet connectivity to schools, adequate technical support and stakeholder engagement.

The management of the programme will be through the multi-agency approach where ICT Authority remains the key implementer and provision of appropriate technologies, Teacher Service Commission [TSC] conduct training for teachers, Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development [KICD] provide required content, Ministry of Energy to supply electricity to schools, Ministry of Education to develop required school infrastructure and Ministry of Industrialization to ensure the use of local content

   Global best practice in integration of ICT in education (click to read more)

ICT integration is defined as the process of determining where and how technology fits in the teaching and learning scenario. It involves using technology to facilitate learning and teaching. Research has shown that ICT can lead to the improvement of students’ learning as well as better pedagogical practices.

Globally, ministries responsible for education have adopted different practices for integration of ICT in education.

There are initiatives by schools to create an ICT Vision and Strategy in various countries. The vision and strategy for ICT in schools should not be created by a single person or through a top-down process starting from the Ministry of Education. Sometimes schools do not have their own ICT vision and plan as the ICT infrastructure and training are generally directed and given by the Ministry. Individual school principals usually establish the school-level vision and plan. The school board takes all decisions on the purchase of ICT tools, a procedure that is usually met with some resistance from the teachers, as they do not always share the same vision as the principal. (Asian Development Bank, Information Communication Technology for Education 2009)

Governments across the world are adopting strategies to make ICT part of daily tasks of the teachers. This promotes the ICT usage in schools; school leaders should initially adopt strategies that make ICT a part of the daily routine or tasks of the teachers. In addition, guidelines to promote use of ICT in schools are being set the Ministries of Education responsible should set guidelines without necessarily imposing these as rules or regulation to be adhered to.

ICT Policies across the world are being adopted across the world. In the education sector, for example the Ministry of Education (Ministry of Education) in Malaysia has noted the importance of integrating ICT into the national curriculum for primary and secondary school. Hence, the element of ICT has been included as one of the transformations shifts in Malaysia’s latest Education Blueprint (PPPM) 2013-2025 as the national education future development focus.

Governments have adopted a practice of localizing content; this involves creating materials, such as learning materials for students and teachers that are appropriate to local requirements, as well as the placement of information on the web in local languages. Localization takes into account not just language but also cultural conventions and the requirements of the local population to maximize the ICT experience in education and make it both relevant and useful. Sound localization policies will in turn lead to the development of local software industries that produce applications and content that are useful locally.

The role of the teacher in the classroom is being transformed from that of the font of knowledge to an instructional manager helping to guide students through individualized learning pathways, identifying relevant learning resources, creating collaborative learning opportunities, and providing insight and support both during formal class time and outside of the designated 40-minute instruction period. This shift is easier said than done and ultimately the success or failure of technology projects in the classroom hinge on the human factor and the willingness of a teacher to step into unchartered territory. (Athanassios Jimoyiannis,2009)

In Uganda, Curriculum Net has developed, tested, and integrated ICT-based instructional materials and teaching into the existing Ugandan curriculum. In addition, the project has explored the viability of using ICTs in education by evaluating their potential for a positive impact on teaching and learning, and testing the economic, technical and operational feasibility of the delivery process. The project was undertaken as a participatory effort, wherein curriculum experts and teachers were trained and supported in the collaborative development of ICT-based curriculum, and in delivering the curriculum electronically in their local classrooms (Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education, 2008)

Finally, technical support is needed to have ongoing technical assistance for teachers not only in early phases of ICT use but as hardware and Networking technologies become more sophisticated and educational applications become more complex. As with teacher training, assistance is needed to not only support teachers’ operation and connection of hardware and software, as well as help in integrating the use of ICT across the full range of curricular subjects. For example, Chile developed a collaboration between the Ministry of Education and institutions of higher education to provide both training and ongoing technical support to schools all across the country, including those in rural areas. (Kozma, 2008).

There is a need for pedagogical and curricular change. This is an important component of operational policies, particularly for strategic policies that promote education reform, is the articulation of changes ICT-related changes in curriculum, pedagogical practices, and assessment. For example, an important component of Singapore’s reform was to create a better balance in the curriculum between the acquisition of factual knowledge and the mastery and applications of concepts, and the development of individual curiosity, creativity, and enterprise.

   Policies and Strategies in Kenya Education System (click to read more)

The Republic of Kenya has made a number of national and international commitments to transform our country into a Knowledge Society and Knowledge Economy. The Constitution of Kenya 2010 enshrines the right of every Kenyan to receive a quality education (articles 43 and 46.). Both the Economic and Social pillars of Vision 2030 recognize the critical need for Kenya children to receive a quality education that equips them with 21st Century skills including digital literacy.

According to the National ICT strategy for education and training (2006), the country envisions to facilitate ICT as a universal tool for education and training. In order to achieve this vision every educational institution, teacher, learner and the respective community should be equipped with appropriate ICT infrastructure, competencies and policies for usage and progress. It calls for recognition of the fact that ICT provides capabilities and skills needed for a knowledge-based economy. It also calls for transforming teaching and learning to incorporate new pedagogies that are appropriate for the 21st century.

The use of ICT is to improve access, learning and administration in delivery of education programmes and services.

The strategy provides a framework for the review of the ICT policy and ICT strategy in the education sector, maintain the relevance and currency of ICT policies and strategies, achieve a broader base for ownership by involving all stakeholders The Basic Education Act no 14 of 2013 as revised in 2014 identifies various principles and values that should guide the implementation of the Act. Among them is,

  1. Equitable access for the youth to basic education and equal access to education
  2. Promotion of quality and relevance
  3. Encouraging independent and critical thinking
  4. Promotion of innovativeness, inventiveness, creativity, technology transfer and an entrepreneurial culture,
  5. Provision of appropriate human resource, funds, equipment, infrastructure and related resources that meet the needs of every child in basic education

According to the Kenya Institute for Public Policy Research and Analysis (KIPPRA), under the big four agenda by the government, in order to address the skills and capacity gaps, the government has identified the need to adopt innovative policies that enhance partnerships between universities and the industry and create avenues for technology and skills transfer. Other strategies include technology and skills diffusion through personnel exchanges, collaboration in production, joint research. For institutions of higher learning to be able to create innovations, learners who are transiting from the basic education system should be exposed to technologies that prepare them for a learning environment where ICTS are ubiquitous.

   Digital Literacy Implementation Strategy (click to read more)

The Republic of Kenya has made a number of national and international commitments to transform our country into a Knowledge Society and Knowledge Economy. The Constitution of Kenya 2010 enshrines the right of every Kenyan to receive a quality education (articles 43 and 46.). Both the Economic and Social pillars of Vision 2030 recognize the critical need for Kenya children to receive a quality education that equips them with 21st Century skills including digital literacy.

Strategy 1: Multi-stakeholder Approach

A multi-stakeholder approach was adopted in the implementation of DLP programme due to the number of key projects the programme. The Programme has five key projects each being implemented by different government agency as follows; Teacher capacity development was being implemented by Teacher Service Commission, Digital Content development by Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development, Electricity Connection to schools by Ministry of Energy, Infrastructure improvements in schools by Ministry of education, local assembly plants by Ministry of Industrialization and ICT devices for schools by ICT Authority and Ministry of ICT to oversee implementation. This approach was informed by the three failure attempts due to an uncoordinated approach in managing all the programme key components.

Strategy 2: Phase Approach

The design, implementation of any complex programmes such as DLP requires a considerate approach in order to ensure effective deployment of resources, stakeholder management and success. The Digital Literacy Program, based on its nature of complexity, adopted a three-phased approach where each phase had clear deliverables and timelines. This phase-approach was also dictated by availability of financial resources, e-readiness of schools, teacher preparation and digital content development. Each phase of the programme targets a specific group of learners depending on their grades, learning materials and learning abilities. Phase I of the programme targets learners of grade 1-3, Phase II targets learners for grade 4-6 and Phase II targets advance above grade 6.

   Scope of Digital Literacy Programme Phase II (click to read more)

The Programme is targeted at all, grade 4-6, learners in public primary schools and is aimed at deepening the use of digital technologies in teaching and learning as a key enable to the Competency based Curriculum [CBC]

The Overall Objective

The main objective of phase II of the programme is to build up the gains from Phase I and introduce learners to advanced technologies which encourages creativity and innovativeness among the learners.

The specific objectives of the programme are:

  1. To equip and expose learners of grade 4-6 with necessary technologies to enhance their competencies.
  2. To provide an enabling environment for effective delivery of CBC Programme
  3. Further entrench ICT integration in teaching and learning process and management of education in lower and upper classes of primary schools.
  4. Equip the classrooms with appropriate ICT infrastructure to support effective teaching and learning od CBC
  5. To continue developing the capacity of education managers, primary school teachers and other stakeholders to enable them use the wide range of ICT tools in teaching and learning.
  6. To facilitate digital content development and availability to primary schools. The main activities that will support the achievements of the objectives will be
       a.) To acquire additional devices for the remaining schools.
       b.) To enhance security for devices through partnership with key stakeholders like the police service, community and chiefs.
       c.) To enhance digital content development framework and maintenance.
       d.) To source for sustainable funding for teacher training and field officers.
       e.) To increase and or enhance free primary education (FPE) capitation to fund school electricity and security expenses.
       f.) To develop policies and frameworks for technical support, local assembly and monitoring and evaluation.