Digital learning taking root in public primary schools in Uasin Gishu

Technology Uasin Gishu

Most public primary schools that benefited from digital learning devices have already integrated digital literacy in their weekly tuition programmes.

Though the utilisation of the devices has not yet reached the desired optimum level, most schools have allocated two days in a week in their timetables as DLP lessons for pupils.

A cross section of head teachers who spoke to KNA conceded that students were elated during DLP lessons and the gadgets have gone a long way in making learning enjoyable for the pupils.

Chemongen Primary School head teacher James Rono said digital literacy among pupils has improved significantly since they started using the learning devices.

“Despite the few challenges we face in using the digital devices, we are happy that we are at least somewhere. The main challenge is the grasp of ICT usage by most of the teachers who are not conversant with computers, and this was made worse when the only ICT trained teacher we had was transferred to another school,” he said.

The head teacher Saramek Primary School David Chirchir said the disbursement of 83 digital literacy gadgets to his school has enhanced learning within the institution which had hitherto benefited 25 laptops from a donor.

“Using the gadgets for us was easy because we already had computers we were using to teach pupils from standard one to eight and most of the pupils were already knowledgeable”, he added.

Chirchir however stressed that the presence of the computers has contributed to increased enrolment in the institution from a population of 450 in 2013 to 580 currently.

The head teacher also noted that the gadgets had motivated the pupils adding that they have reduced idleness in the school as pupils spend their free time in the computer room.

He further said internet connectivity was not an issue of concern because the government has also provided free WIFI alongside the gadgets, the sentiments were supported by the outgoing County Commissioner Abdi Hassan saying internet connectivity should not be of concern as most parts of the county has access to the internet.

The teacher in charge of ICT in the school Christine Tiony said the use of the gadgets has enhanced teaching and learning because both the teacher and the learner are able to access the contents at the same time.

“It is faster because class one pupils can do a task of 10 questions in a short time,” she said.

The school’s committee chairman Nelson Kemei said the introduction of the gadgets has not only boosted the pupils’ morale but also improved attendance.

Kemei added that the introduction of the project has also benefited the local community especially through connection to electricity.

The Outgoing County Commissioner said the introduction of digital learning in public schools created excitement and has motivated learning adding that in the long run the devices will reduce the workload for teachers once they fully embrace its utilization.

A Chief Education Officer at the county Simeon Kemei thanked the government for coming up with the DLP initiative saying it was received with a lot of excitement among learners and has greatly improved the quality of education.

He challenged all teachers to consider upgrading their skills in ICT adding that the ministry had come up with a curriculum to ensure that all teachers are digitally literate.

So far more than 20,000 digital learning devices have been distributed to 456 public primary schools in the county. 910 teacher digital devices, 455 projectors and 455 digital content serve wireless routers have also been distributed.

The use of the DLP devices in schools was made possible through the Last Mile Connectivity where 452 primary schools across the county have been connected with power.

Some of the challenges facing full implementation of the DLP in school is limited content since the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development, KICD is yet to come up with the latest content.

The issue of high power bills is also a major concern for most school administrators with Kenya Power indicating that schools in the county owed it more than Sh 984,000.

There is also bad attitude among some teachers on ICT matters, said some head teachers who also expressed concern over the security of the devices especially in schools along major highways.

By Kiptanui Cherono

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