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Digital Education

Swapping paper for pixels: Kenya aims to digitize school curriculum by 2015

Kenya’s education minister has announced that his ministry is planning to digitize the entire school curriculum by 2015, a move that will see the government reduce expenditure on education resources.

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Minister Mutula Kilonzo said that the government spends a lot of money on educational material, while there was a better option to minimize this through digitization and to allow students to get exposed to ICT skills at an early stage.

“My dream is to see our learning institutions churning out highly skilled personnel who are innovators and creators of knowledge, driving our economy using the latest technologies and competing globally in production of new knowledge and products,” Kilonzo said.

“ICT has now become part and parcel of teaching and learning in all levels of education starting from early childhood development education up to university level,” he added.

The minister said that his department has given a special focus on the Education Bill, currently before the Kenya’s National Assembly, that will see the necessary legal frameworks approved for the implementation of the digitization.

The Kenya Institute of Education, the body responsible for the education curriculum in the country, has already developed content for the digital syllabus. The ICT-Economic Stimulus programme has already equipped some 1 427 secondary schools in the country with appropriate ICT tools.

The minister said that the government was not shifting from just piloting projects, into scaling up of programmes that have a positive impact on educational outcomes as well as retraining communities where the schools are situated.

In the recent past, Kenya has seen the innovation of new technologies foster the uptake of IT in schools, with organisations like eLimu and Kytabu establishing ways to make educational content more accessible and interesting. For instance, eLimu want to deliver low cost tablets to schools, so they can deliver learning revision content for the Kenya primary education in a more interesting way, such as through 3D animations to help students grasp complex concepts.

Kytabu, on the other hand, is a textbook leasing application for low cost tablets that reduces the cost of a book by more than 60 percent. Users can rent textbooks on an hourly, weekly, monthly, for the school term or on an annual plan.

This article by Elly Okutoyi originally appeared on HumanIPO and was published with permission.