The Computer Society of Kenya

Since 1986


Wednesday October  05, 2016

For Ms Amina Omar, a teacher at Sparki Primary school in Mombasa, marking assignments for the 88 pupils in her class has not always been an easy task.

But on this day, both the teacher and her pupils are unusually excited.

The school is on of those which received tablets under the Digital Literacy Programme which was rolled out by the government in March 2016.

It aims at providing tablets to all Class One pupils and laptops to their teachers.

It is 9.50am and the pupils are finding the Kiswahili lesson exciting as they try their hands on the new gadgets.

Marwa Mohamed claps her hands excitedly.

She has just clicked the mark icon on the Kiswahili assignment given to them by Teacher Amina and got all questions right.


Ms Omar, who was walking from desk to desk checking the assignments of each pupil, is equally pleased with what seven-year-old Marwa and many other pupils in the class are able to do with the tablets.

“These tablets have eased my work very much. I do not have to collect 88 exercise books for marking sentence by sentence.

”The pupils do everything on their own by following the instructions I give them.

“All I do is walk around and confirm if they have done the work I gave them and assist those who are stuck. This is their textbook and exercise book,” says Ms Omar during an interview in the school on Tuesday.

She explains that the gadget has the syllabus for Math, Science, Kiswahili, English and Social Studies except for Christian Religious Education (CRE) and Islamic Religious Education (IRE) that they teach manually.


She says that the tablets also have software which can be used by both teachers and pupils in learning and researching on different subjects.

“If I want to teach about celebrations and the pictures are not there, I can easily use the tablet to take photos and videos at an event and use them to teach in class and this makes the lesson more real to the pupils,” she said.

Students start the day’s lessons by registering their names through a pre-installed tool on the tablet after signing in and then submit the name to the teacher who then, using another tool on her laptop, confirms the pupils who have registered for the lessons.

They then follow the teacher through a projected screen before getting down to do their day’s assignments using their tablets as instructed by the teacher.


“Pupils no longer write or read except when they use the gadgets and this has made them to abandon those equally important skills. Some go home when they have already completed their homework.

“Sometimes parents call and ask us why their children do not have homework but we tell them they have already done it.

“We normally encourage them to buy for them tablets and books that they can use for practice at home,” she points out.

Nonetheless, she said the Tusome programme is addressing the challenge of reading and writing among the pupils by ensuring that they learn English and Kiswahili and also do exercises manually.

The school’s headteacher Alfred Nthiga said pupils and teachers in upper classes also use the gadgets for learning and researching and that has led to improved performance.

He urged the government to also speed up the development of upper primary syllabuses and also install them on the computers which schools have in their labs.

Ms Omar also appealed to the government to speed up the distribution of the gadgets to other schools in order to ensure all pupils in the country are at par with their colleagues who already have the gadgets.

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