Private schools cry foul over laptop project
DAILY NATION By GALGALO BOCHA
Tuesday April 11, 2017
Private schools have decried their exclusion from the Jubilee government’s laptop project, which involves issuance of tablets to public school pupils.
Private school managers argued that, despite their schools handling a large percentage of the country’s school going children, they have been sidelined in the use of digital learning devices under the Digital Literacy Programme.
Speaking at the 20th annual Directors Conference at Sai Rock Beach Hotel in Mombasa on Monday, Kenya Private Schools Association (KPSA) national chairperson Mutheu Kasanga called on Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i to issue a policy directive on the matter.
The proprietors of 6,865 private primary and 1,394 secondary schools, as well as 30 kindergartens, are also asking the government to zero-rate digital gadgets.
“We urge the government to remove taxes on all digital learning materials and other educational materials so that Kenyans can access affordable quality education,” Ms Kasanga said, adding that they would “start implementing the programme even by May”.
She added that private schools had not benefited from the training of 70,000 teachers in information and communication technology (ICT) skills to implement the project and support teachers and tutors to teach and deliver content on a digital platform.
In her presentation, Digital Literacy Programme Solution for Private Schools, Ms Kasanga said it Is the government’s duty to ensure all children have access to quality education that meets the needs of the 21st Century.
She added that, as private school managers, they are prepared to ensure that their teachers are adequately equipped with critical ICT teaching skills so as to pass the knowledge on to their learners.
“We want the government to engage us because we cannot have an education programme that segregates Kenyan children.
“We don’t know why the government is avoiding private schools in implementation of key programmes such as this one, despite our contribution to the development of the education sector in the country.”
The school managers also alleged segregation in the Sh8.84 billion World Bank-funded Kenya Primary Education Development Project (Priede), which is intended to assist the country in addressing the key challenges in early grade primary school education.
Ms Kasanga stated that the Education ministry has also not involved private schools in the literacy enhancement programme, code-named Tusome and funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAid) and the British Department for International Development (DfID) to the tune of Sh5.38 billion.