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Laptop project under scrutiny

17 April 2013, 16:56 Maria Macharia

Nairobi - Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta is facing mounting opposition to his election campaign pledge to provide free laptops to class one pupils across the country.

Kenyatta’s regime, already crying foul over a ballooning public wage bill of more than Sh450 billion, is at pains to accomplish projects the President promised while on the campaign trail.

Parents in Kenya now say that the President should first focus on other priority projects, especially infrastructure and health care.

They say it would be unrealistic to have pupils in lower primary supplied with laptops when some of the country’s 27,000 teachers are not computer literate.

The Kenya National Association of Parents said the laptop plan should be put on hold until all teachers are trained on computer applications.

Kenya National Union of Teachers official James Chotara said giving computers to pupils would be a waste as the majority of were not computer literate.

“We have to get it right. There are no two ways to it,” Chotara said in an interview in Nairobi.

Despite criticism from education stakeholders that the plan could be too ambitious, Kenyatta maintains his administration will ensure every pupil has a laptop.

Opening Parliament on Tuesday, Kenyatta said: “My Government has committed itself to delivering on the promise of free laptops for our standard one children starting next year. Some have said that this is too ambitious.”

He added: “We cannot afford to leave any of our children without tools to compete in the digital age. Yes, our ambition is great but the scale of that ambition is the only one sufficient to meet the scale of our nation’s challenge. As such, I call upon both Houses to work with me to ensure that in future, the laptops we provide are assembled locally.”




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