The Kenyan government has today launched the Proof Of Concept phase in the implementation of the Digital Literacy Program branded Digi School. The press briefing of the launch was attended by the Cabinet Secretary for ICT Joe Mucheru, ICT and Innovation, Eng. Victor Kyalo, CEO KICD, Dr. Julius Jwan and ICT Authority Acting CEO, Robert Mugo among others.
Speaking during the brief, the CS ICT appraised the media on the progress thus far in working towards the implementation of the program in 150 schools country wide as well as the next steps to be taken in the program.
The commencement of the Proof of Concept (POC) starts on 22nd February 2016. This phase seeks to allow the successful bidders to prove their capacity to implement the full project to all the 22,000 schools. This phase will last twelve (12) weeks and will cover 150 schools distributed across the 47 counties.
The two successful bidders are the consortium of Moi University and JP Couto, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology and Positivo BGH. Moi University will cover 26 counties, while Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture & Technology will cover 21 counties.
The 150 schools selected were certified to be e-ready by school head teachers in collaboration with County Education Officers. The e-readiness tool assessed the number of teachers trained, electricity connection and metering, device storage facilities, appropriate desks and availability of a secure classroom.
The POC implementation phase now begins and is guided by a detailed project roadmap which will commence with testing of the following:-
– Ability to deliver on schedule
– Adherence of specifications of devices
– Installation and testing of both the content and the devices
– Usability, functionality and support to schools to ensure that everything works optimally.
Mucheru emphasized that the program is not about devices.
We now want to focus on the other components of the program such as teacher training, power connections, content creation with the ultimate goal of job and wealth creation for Kenyans. We want to build a knowledge society, and this is a step towards that direction for our children and future generations.
On content he confirmed that the Government through the Ministry of Education are already engaging stakeholders especially publishers, developers and content creators with the aim of orienting them on the criteria to be used for reviewing and approving digital content for schools. The Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD), is working towards liberalization of learning content and it’s availability on multiple platforms.
On Teacher training, Mucheru confirmed that they have identified teachers of the 150 POC schools as project champions.
We have planned a training and briefing session with all the head teachers and the identified 2 teachers per school in the coming weeks.
As he concluded his brief, Mr. Mucheru touched on the security of the devices and accessories used in the Digischool program. He confirmed that while communities and a schools will be expected to protect this valuable resource, they are engaging the Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government to extend security to schools when need arises.
After completion of the POC, the successful bidders will then proceed to full implementation in 22,000 schools in Kenya in two phases. The first batch of 600,000 devices will be delivered to 11,000 schools starting in June 2016 which will mark the beginning of the first phase. The second batch will be delivered to the other 11,000 schools by June 2017. The setting up of the Local Assembly line and training of staff and other key players will start in the next few weeks.