When the Government established the Digital Literacy Programme in 2016, many people rubbished the idea as a political rhetoric aimed at luring citizens into voting during the 2017 General Elections.
According to Busia County Director of Education, Thaddeus Awuor, the County received a total of 31567 Learners Devices, 862 Teacher Devices, 431 projectors and 431 servers to feed the projectors and learning devices. “So far the County is doing so well in terms of DLP as we have trained 841 teachers,” he said, adding that each school has two DLP champions who are supposed to enhance ICT learning in schools.
Awuor said teachers use the devices to enhance the contents of programmes like Tusome, Mathematics, Competency Based Curriculum, school-based teacher support systems and others which are home grown at school level.
“The devices have also been used to enhance NEMIS registration, download examinations from the KNEC portal,” he said adding that the same gadgets were recently used to carry out a re-entry examination following Covid 19 pandemic. He adds that the gadgets are also used to access TSC online services like downloading pay slips, uploading teacher performance on TPAD, online requests for transfers and email activation. “These devices have also enabled teachers to access KICD materials using the clouds,” he said.
The CDE noted that the communities near the schools have also benefited from electricity and solar power due to the government’s effort to connect the schools to power.
He however regretted that a number of the gadgets have broken down but have been repaired through the assistance of ICT officers.
“Another challenge is the internet connectivity since the whole county has not been served with the fibre optic but we believe that with the ongoing programme the issue will be addressed,” he said and appealed to head teachers to ensure the safety of the gadgets warning that those who fail to do so will be held responsible.
“Let the head teachers adhere to the circular issued to them last month,” he said, adding that the same has been forwarded to Education stakeholders at the National level.
Awuor at the same time advised the teachers to enhance the usage of the gadgets and maintain proper inventory of the same stressing: “This is a huge government project that is meant to benefit the learners.”
Busia County Commissioner John Korir on his part urged the DCI to follow up the few cases of theft and ensure that the culprits are brought to book. Korir suggested that there is a need to have committees at the Sub County level to visit each school and check on their security arrangements.
Commenting on the matter, Busia County TSC Director Beatrice Ogwe said that the ICT teachers in the County were very active but there was need for more sensitization especially to the elderly teachers. “There is also is need to train more of the younger teachers if online learning can continue especially during the Covid 19 pandemic,” she added.
Busia County Project Coordinator Elizabeth Marangach cited Bulanda Primary school as one of the institutions that has really embraced the use of the gadgets.
The County has 432 Primary Schools spread across its seven Sub Counties.
By Salome Alwanda