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Disquiet over usability of digital learning devices in migori county

Revelation that most of the digital learning devices supplied to local primary schools are just gathering dust in stores has sent chills down the spine of members of the Migori County Development Implementation and Coordination Committee (CDICC).

The admission by the Region’s Director of Education, Ms Elizabeth Otieno and ICT Officer in charge of the Digital Literacy Program, Alex  Otieno that the usability of the gadgets is very low within the county confirmed the fears that the whole program is not giving value to tax-payers.

Consequently, the County Commissioner (CC),  Joseph  Rotich  who is also the chairman of the CDICC directed during the committee’s forum in his office that, the education ministry must immediately initiate a workable monitoring strategy to fast-track the use of the gadgets by learners and teachers as required.

According to Ms Otieno, head teachers were to blame for the dismal usage of the devices due to their habit of putting them under-key and lock in stores fearing their disappearances in the hands of un- trusted junior teachers.

The heads, most of them staring at retirement apparently have no time for the digital program in their schools and have developed a negative perception against their dotcom juniors who they view as a threat to the safety of the gadgets.

The ICT  Officer, Otieno  expressed concern that despite training 694 teachers in the area, lessons conducted under this program are still very low to realize success.

Our investigations have revealed that these devices are not being used by schools because the trained teachers cannot access them from their bosses, explained the officer.

The Presidential Development Unit (PDU) Director in charge of Migori County, Melkidezek Onguso warned that the government will not tolerate those out to jeopardize the success of the program in the area.

The move to distribute the devices in schools nation-wide was intended to revolutionise the education sector to adapt to the global race of digitizing teaching methods.

The Kenya-government distributed thousands of digital devices, including projectors, content access points, learners’ digital devices (LDDs) and teachers’ digital devices (TDDs) worth over Sh.5 billion from 2016.

In Migori alone, 17,431 learners’ and 818 teachers’ devices have so far been supplied to schools with 409 projectors and 409 content access point devices distributed to the same schools.

Onguso said the state was keen to ensure that all the necessary infrastructures were put in place to help in the proper usage of the digital learning gadgets.

On the same note, the CDICC put the offices of the Kenya Power and Rural Electrification Authority on notice to double efforts of connecting all schools to power with a view to promoting the Digital Literacy Program in the region.

“The gaps being experienced in power supply because of power blackouts, low power voltage, transformer thefts and lack of connectivity to schools must not arise again in future if the program is to succeed as planned,” said Rotich.

By  George Agimba

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