DigiSchool is the brand name for the Digital Literacy Programme (DLP), a programme borne out of the Government of Kenya’s vision to make sure every pupil is prepared for today’s digital world. The programme introduces primary school children, beginning with those in lower primary, to the use of digital technology in learning. DLP is targeted at learners in all public primary schools in Kenya and will cover all the 23,951 primary schools, and nearly 1 million 2016 Class 1 pupils, with a combination of the use of technology, content and teaching, to transform learning in Kenya into a 21st century education system.
DigiSchool is led by the Ministry of Information, Communications and Technology (ICT) and is executed through a multi stakeholder approach with the ICT Authority as the implementing body.
Key components of the Digital Learning Programme:
- Provision of digital devices for both learners and teachers.
- Capacity development for teacher and implementers
- Broadband connectivity devices
- Provision of content for digital learning.
- Establishment of local assembly for digital devices and related accessories.
Objectives of Digital Learning Programme:
- Entrenching ICT in the teaching and learning process and management of education in primary schools.
- Equipping public primary schools with appropriate ICT infrastructure to support teaching and learning process.
- Developing capacity of education managers, primary school teachers and other stakeholders to enable them use the wide range of ICT tools in teaching-learning process and management of schools.
- Facilitating the development and accreditation of appropriate digital content that will enhance acquisition of 21st century skills.
- Promoting universal access and equitable distribution to ICT infrastructure in primary schools
- Integrating sustainable and affordable digital programme in Kenya education system
- Development of skills for a knowledge economy
- Promoting research and development
- Promoting locally assembled/manufactured goods and services
- Enhancing job creation through digital content creation, e-waste management of worn devices, and local assembly of devices
- Enhanced connectivity to power and the internet for the large community
- Opening up participation in the education system to the community through school websites, emails, and blogs
Led by the Ministry of Information, Communications and Technology (ICT), DigiSchool is implemented through a consortium of partners drawn from government ministries and agencies, and affiliated bodies in the education sector. The team constitutes three levels of administration: oversight, inter-ministerial and a technical implementation committee. A secretariat constituted from government agencies is responsible for the daily running of the programme.
The oversight committee includes the Office of the Attorney General and Cabinet Secretaries from the ministries of ICT; the National Treasury; Industrialization and Enterprise Development; Education, Science and Technology; Energy and Petroleum; and Devolution and Planning.
The inter-ministerial committee consists of Principal Secretaries in ministries of ICT; the National Treasury; Industrialization and Enterprise Development; Education, Science and Technology; Energy and Petroleum; and Devolution and Planning.
The technical committee includes technical heads from the implementing agencies and key stakeholders. This committee is crucial in the implementation of the Digital Learning Programme and is further divided into implementation teams based on the priority areas. This committee is assisted by a Secretariat which liaises with the contractors to ensure deliverables are observed and reported.
Objectives of the Programme
Efficient Delivery of Learning Outcomes: teachers can already see a change in learning outcomes for their students. Most remark that the devices have not only increased student alertness and helped them to experience learning in a practical and fun way in class, but it has also reduced absenteeism and increased admissions in the schools.
Build ICT capacity in communities: DLP has enhanced the ICT skills among teachers and communities through the teacher capacity element of the programme.
Extended Power Connectivity: Communities around the country have connected to electricity as more schools are connected to the power grid.
Business and employment opportunities: DLP provides a range of jobs including ICT support centers in the counties and sub-counties, and business opportunities in digital education content development and e-waste management and disposal.
Develop Local Assembly: there are efforts through local collaborations and consortia to build the capacity to assemble the DLP devices and accessories, which builds local industry and creates jobs.
Total number of learner digital devices installed as of August 2017 is 989,485, total number of teacher digital devices installed is 39,130. 19,565 schools have had devices installed, Projectors installed 19,565, Total Number of devices 1,067,745.
Over 90,000 teachers have been trained to deliver digital learning to pupils
The number of schools assessed for e-readiness is 12,035 and 10,697 schools are
Over 22,237 schools have been connected to the power grid.
DLP has been designed to comply with the e-waste policy and NEMA guidelines.
A consortium between Moi University and JP Couto;and another between
The Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology in collaboration with the Ministry of Industrialization has established the Nairobi Industrial and Technology Park. The Park has a capacity of assembling 750,000 devices per year and is expected to create employment for 3,000 people. The Park is working in a consortium with Positivo BGH from Argentina. Moi University has also set up an assembly plant within Eldoret Town and is assembling 2000 devices per day.
Technology and Infrastructure
Technology facilitates how students receive content. It looks at all the equipment necessary to deliver the digital content including devices, internet connectivity, storage and servers, and power connection
Led by the ICT Authority, technology and infrastructure development includes identifying, acquiring, and set up of reliable and robust devices and infrastructure to support the DLP.
The technology and infrastructure considerations necessary in the DLP are: teacher digital device, learner’s digital device, projector, DLP content servers (DCS), digital wireless router, power supply for grid or solar power, device storage and charging and special needs specific devices.
Other considerations are desks and classrooms that learners will use during learning.
Essentially, the technology in use is set up on the basis of common standards throughout the schools, with emphasis laid on content requirements, health and safety measures and environmental friendly equipment.
Over time, it is expected that local innovators and industries will be used in the assembly of the devices and accessories. To this end the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) in collaboration with the Ministry of Industrialization and Enterprise Development (MoI&ED) have established the Nairobi Industrial and Technology Park Project.
Before implementation, the programme assesses the readiness of each public primary school for use of ICT. The e-readiness assessment checks on specific components that inform the standard design of a model DigiSchool classroom.
Design of a Model DigiSchool Classroom
An e-ready school has:
- A metered connection to either the national grid or solar power
- Secure and well ventilated storage cabinets with adequate charging ports
- Flat and wide desks, enough for all the students
- A dust proof classroom
- Ample security for the devices, with grilled doors and windows where they are stored
- At least 2 teachers trained per school
A full set of devices for a school includes: luminous green tablets for the pupils, sky blue laptops for the teachers, projectors, and digital content server and wireless router. Special needs schools also have luminous green laptops and Braille embossers for special learners.
Educators are essential ensure pupils learn and stay on track. To build and enhance the capacity of teachers to deliver digital learning to pupils, the programme has put in place a training module for teachers in public primary schools. In the initial stages 3 teachers per school are targeted to benefit from the digital learning training.
Led by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology building teacher capacity has seen the development and implementation of a targeted training programme for implementers of the Digital Learning Programme (DLP). In collaboration with targeted training programme for implementers of DLP there is continuous review and improvement of the training programme. So far 80,980 teachers have been trained.
Digital content is the academic material that pupils use to learn. Digital content comes in many forms including text, audio and videos files, graphics, animations, and images.
The Digital Learning Programme provides a framework for identification of approved educational content materials to be digitized and availed in a secure digital platform for learners. Ideally, the content is independent from the digital platform, reliable, available, accessible, and secure. The expected output of this component is a framework for content establishment and conversion deployment into digital platform.
The Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) has led the digital content team to develop and execute a framework for developing content and converting it into digital platform.
KICD launched online content for classes 1, 2, and 3, which is available upon a simple registration. The DLP devices are preloaded with content which includes interactive digital content for classes 1 and 2 in five subjects namely, Kiswahili, English, Mathematics, Science and Social studies.
The DLP content portal, www.kicdinteractivecontent.ac.ke, has been upgraded and now includes content from KICD, Tusome Programme, Kenya Publishers’ Association (KPA) and Open Education Resources (OER) installed in the learner digital devices and teacher digital devices.
Teachers’ laptops and server and wireless router are preloaded with the teacher training curricula on ICT integration, teachers training manual on ICT and a resource kit for teachers. KICD has also completed preparing interactive content for visually impaired pupils in the five subjects. Digital content for class 5 to 8 should be ready by June 2017.