Education and Technology in Kenya

Edward Wanjala

JF-Expert Member
Nov 3, 2016

A few years back, the prospect of a fully-functional e-learning-based education system and digital Education e-Management Systems in Kenya seemed a dream. Needed infrastructure like internet had not been developed. However the Kenyan Government embarked on provision of these infrastructure. They include electricity and internet with which digital education can sail on. Kenya’s broadband penetration has just improved in the last 5 years, this improvement has seen internet penetration in Kenya to be the best in Africa with a penetration percentage of 68.4% by 2016.

This track of development and the advent of technology is presenting a silver lining for the kenya government to propel the education systems into the new digital age. The digitization of education is providing plenty of alternatives to address the socioeconomic challenges facing many emerging economies, particularly in terms of improving access to education.

Today, we can claim to have a better glimpse of what the digital education landscape will look like in the next decade.
As well as a growing sense of cautious optimism, there’s consensus that 10 years from now teachers may no longer need blackboards and chalks. Textbooks, pencils and pens will be redundant, and the dreaded bulky school bag will be history. There’s hope, that learners in Kenya will trade their textbooks for affordable smartphones and tablets that are packed with an entire curriculum. This is in fact already happening under the government’s Laptop Project. The project is intended to provide all learners in Kenya with laptops and tablets.

Read more on Kenya Government Laptop Project

Why Digitize Education

There are many compelling reasons why the digitization of education should be embraced.
Around the world and Kenya in particular, this is in regard to beating the barriers that surround the traditional education systems.

Digitization of education can assist in addressing many of the factors, including, access to education, affordability, language, distance, and discrimination. Furthermore, it enables the mass delivery of quality education across geographical boundaries.

Also, e-learning is easily accessible via the most popular mode of electronic communication on the continent – the cellphone. Kenya has a very high percentage of cellphone access, use of cellphone is the first in ensuring that information is transmitted across geographical barriers and socioeconomic boundaries. This makes the inclusion of this tool as a key medium for the delivery of education a logical choice.
Kenya is also on the brink of a new and exciting digital era brought about by a combination of governments’ concerted efforts to make ICT a major part of their development plans and the investment in the undersea fibre optic cables. Kenya prides itself as the ICT hub in the Sub-Saharan Africa.

Another good thing about digitization is the amount of time it saves – in any field. Digitization of admissions can save lot of the time to the decision makers of the process. So does the digitization of institute searching. Communication also becomes easier between the students, teachers and parents.

Digitization provides the system a better scope in search for information. Digital class rooms with internet availability. Learning gets deeper Visual and Interesting, due to the availability of platforms like Wikipedia, google, Youtube etc.,

With use of laptops and tablets, learners will carry less burden of books and pens to school and back as it has been, digitization can reduce this burden and the students can happily go to their schools with joy.

Tech-teaching is gaining tract in Kenya. Learners comprehend much faster when teachers use this methods. They are able to see what the teacher is teaching as he uses gadgets. We human beings remember better when we are shown something. So explaining things by showing them through videos and graphics will go a long way in helping comprehension and retention of concepts no matter how complex.

Information access on Schools becomes much easier in digital education systems. When it comes to choosing of universities and branches, digitization provides an ease to choose better. It’s also easy to know opinions of other students and parents. Getting connected to alumni and knowing their opinions is also easy.

Digital Solutions

For any digital system to work effectively, there must be digital solutions and providers. In Kenya for example, many IT firms are coming up with digital solution to aid this transition.

Many entrepreneurs are coming up with innovative solutions that are driving the digital aspects of education in Kenya and beyond. Some of the Kenyan innovations are gaining ground in Kenya and around Africa. Some examples of these innovations are:

  1. BRCK Education: A Kenyan company providing digital Hardware and customized Software to Schools in Kenya. With their Kio-Kit, A water proof kit that can carry up to 40 Kio-tablets. The Kio-Kit provides security to the tablets in schools. The Kio-Tablets are customized with learning software and digital learning resources.
  2. Tonnee Ndung’u: A young Kenya entrepreneur invented the Kytabu. It is a digital content providing solution with over 10 publishers incorporated and 1,723 ebooks in the system. This platform is accessible around the world.
  3. ekitabu: Provides digital school content to schools in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Ghana. With 500,000 titles from around the world, it is a rich source of education content in Africa. Accessible around the world.
  4. Melimu: Is a platform from the Kenya innovators that allows interactions between learners and teachers in colleges. It has presence in over 45 countries with over 150,000 learners and 40 plus team members.
  5. Now comes the mother of all innovations: Someshaapps. A group of young entrepreneurs has come together to bridge the missing links in Digital Education System. Where else a lot has been achieved in hardware and digital content provision, there had been no digital linkage between the education stakeholders. Someshaapps provides the interconnection between different education stakeholders providing a super way of communication between these stakeholders. School Admin, Teachers, Parents and learners can seamlessly communicate. It offers throughway for parents to get school notifications on school fees, school activities and calendar and also receive homework assignments to their kids. Parents can also communicate with the school either by notifications or calling directly. Schools can dispatch exam results to parents at a click of a button. Among many features, this app comes in very handy to bridge the gap left in digital education in Kenya and beyond. Read Someshaa for more.
For certain, ground has been set for the Digital Education Set off in Kenya and the African Content.

A report By: Edward Wanjala

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