The Kenyan government will in the near future provide laptops to primary school students. Are the schools ready and able to absorb this opportunity?
Governments are good at big top down initiatives, but the grass roots implementation needs people on the ground to be successful. Kenya is rich in small entrepreneurial businesses, especially in the technology sector. Our non-profit’s technology in education initiatives have been received with great enthusiasm by schools and teachers still waiting for technology to arrive. We have been implementing education programs in Kenya for 4 years, and have now joined a consortium of like minded organizations
Small Solutions and our Kenyan colleagues of the OLPC Kenya Alliance, just initiated 9 new programs introducing laptops to teachers and children from ages 4 – 12 to public schools in the Kiamba, Nyeri and Laikipia. Most children and teachers had never used a computer. With just a few hours of instruction, they were all able to successfully navigate the laptops and use many activities. The teachers were more excited than the children. There were broad smiles as both teachers and students delved into the laptop learning activities. Several of the children after one hour with the laptops, said that these computers could help them expand their minds and knowledge. Pretty amazing statement.
This intervention at the grassroots works. The role of integrators and innovators is to use technology to accelerate learning and connect kids to knowledge and their peers worldwide.
It takes teams, like ours, ready to support the teachers. We are one of many small organizations and NGOs working to improve schools in Kenya. We believe that the government should consider working with groups like ours who can demonstrate proven successful programs and will be there in the long run.
The digital revolution in education is not a revolution if it only provides the same curriculum in a digital format. The challenge is to change the way that students think and learn. We are counting on them to solve enormous new problems that the 20th century civilization created. We, the current responsible leadership, don’t have the time to solve them. The best we can do is to prepare this generation of children with the knowledge and tools to meet their future.
The Kenya OLPC Alliance is already on the path. Member schools have more than 3 years using laptops. Our goals are to train others, build outreach teams, and innovation programs at regional hub school sites. Our trainers are drawn from the talented pool of young Kenyan entrepreneurs, and technocrats. These young adults know well the perils of Kenya education, and care about providing a better future for children.
Small Solutions Big Ideas and OLPC Kenya Alliance