Kenya’s new president Uhuru Kenyatta promised all class one kids a Laptop each. This is the most ambitious and expensive promise ever made by a political leader in the world. Being “digital” as opposed to “analogue” was an intense slogan used during campaigns .Now the campaigns are over and government in place. Every Kenyan is pondering on how the Jubilee government will fund the stretched budget. For tech companies, Kenyatta’s move is most welcome since relevant content for kids should be input into the netbooks.
It is approximated that 1.2 million kids join standard one every year in Kenya. These statistics cumulates to 6 million in a five-year political period. This brings into question the sustainability of such an exciting project considering the amount of funds it will attract from the Kenyan Taxpayer. If we assume that each laptop will cost 100 dollars on the lower side, then it means 48 billion Kenyan shillings will be required to fulfill the project on a 5-year period.
The United Nations Millennium Development Goal is to ensure a world with one child one laptop. If Kenya succeeds in rolling out the project, it will become the second country in Africa after Rwanda to attempt such a bold move. The world economy is shifting into a global village driven by ICT. Despite the high cost of this program, it will completely turn around learning in a country where internet infrastructure is fast developing.
The use of a laptop in a classroom has many advantages. In the new age of technology, the laptop is equivalent to a pencil and a ruler in the old classroom set up. The laptop is light and portable hence pupils can revise from a convenient location. Bulkiness of physical books reduces by compacting them to a soft form in the laptop. A netbook is an efficient teacher assistant that allows organization and planning of work by a student.
Laptops on the other hand have its disadvantages. They are fragile hence break up easily. Batteries used by laptops have a short lifespan and discharge very fast. Therefore, a consistent power supply is required. Durability of a laptop is short and damages easily on contact with liquids. It is expensive to repair a laptop.
With proper management, the project will transform the landscape of education in Kenya and bring up a tech-savvy society in the long term.