Former SA president Nelson Mandela said that the internet and education are the two great equalizers in life, leveling the playing field for people, companies and countries worldwide. Those words must have inspired Kenya’s president-elect Uhuru Kenyatta when he promised Kenyans one solar-powered laptop per kid entering primary school.
Tax Burden & Door To Discontent
It may sound simple to execute but this is a huge project that requires massive budgetary allocations from treasury and thus could be a channel for corrupt government officials to siphon out money through the scheme. Laptops of course mean greater access to technology, information, and content nationwide, increased student interest in their education & development of 21st century skills and integration of teaching technology that supports improved learning.
Sounds like a good plan however the government has to emphasize that it’s the student, the teacher, the parent, the community—not just the technology and the laptops that will work hard collaboratively to improve the learning outcomes.
Secondly for effective learning to take place we must inspire kids to not only consume information but generate it, to produce ideas and share knowledge.
Teachers Need ICT Know-How
Teachers represent a critical element in the success of this initiative; in an e-Learning environment the teacher must be the guide, mentor, facilitator, and coach to improve education outcomes and help students develop 21st century skills.
School administrators too are primarily responsible for adherence to policy, applying governance on usage of the e-Learning environment, and ensuring that the environment is operational.
Professional development of primary school teachers thus needs to be put in place now for the e-learning program to be successful. Teachers and administrators must keep up with the changing environment of technology to provide the best resources for the program. The resources used for ongoing professional development may also be used for ongoing curriculum and content integration. Once the program is launched KIE can also allow teachers to share newly developed content, and collaborate on content creation.
Secondly the government must work with professional organizations, such as teachers unions and other societies to support the initiative.
Some of the limiting factors of the program include; the availability of content, teachers trained specifically in the use of ICT with younger children, theft and proper handling of ICT equipment by the young ones. Finally should the students keep their laptops at school until they develop the necessary carefulness this could be a security challenge to schools as break-ins may become the order of the day!
That said let us examine what the free laptops program requires to become a successful e-learning program;
Components of an E-learning Program
1. Technology-Affordable, rugged, energy-efficient, state-of