By Calvin Osiemo
Following the Jubilee Coalition’s promise to primary school going children during the 2013 General Election campaigns of giving them laptops, the government has been forced to transfer the task from the Prof. Kaimenyi led Education Ministry to the Ministry of Information Communication and Technology (ICT) under the watch of Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i. The ICT ministry will work closely with their Energy and Industrialization counterparts, the National Treasury and the Attorney-General’s office.
CS Matiang’i said the whole process had to be reorganized for it to kickoff which President Uhuru Kenyatta did last month
“The President decided to reorganize the manner of delivery. It’s now an inter-ministerial obligation,” Mr. Matiang’i said.
The project was to be implemented as one of the priorities of the Jubilee Administration has been facing quite a number of challenges more specifically on the tendering process which has seen it being postponed. The project which is expected to be rolled out in the next two years will see 1.2 million pupils in 11,078 primary schools across the country benefit.
Speaking to one of the local dailies, Cabinet Secretary in charge of Treasury docket Henry Rotich said the government has put in place enough measures to ensure that the plan turns out a success this time without hitches.
He also hinted that the government has also laid down plans to have the laptops locally manufactured.
“A new framework in progress will deal with both Class One laptops and Class Four to Eight laptops, and we are setting up a plant to have them made in Kenya,” said CS Rotich.
In this fiscal year budget plan the government allocated Sh17.58 billion for the laptop project in which Sh9.58 billion will be spent on training teachers and Sh8 billion on the manufacturing and assembly of the laptops. During his speech on the budget, CS Rotich said that the exemption of VAT on raw materials was aimed at increasing the manufacturing capacity of the country and this would go far in boosting the laptop project citing examples of Rwanda and Brazil that have been successful in similar projects.
“We are once again allocating a total of Sh17.58 billion for deployment of ICT learning devices to schools, development of digital content, and building the capacity of teachers,” Mr. Rotich said