Kenya’s hope to become the seat of education in the whole of Africa is not a new-found dream. Historical records namely the Swahili manuscript “Utendi Wa Tambuka” attests that Kenyan people had access to education to a date as far back as 1728. During the colonial ear the missionaries tried to establish many schools based on the western philosophy. At the same time several Kenyan nationals from affluent families went aboard to pursue higher education and learning. But there was an evident gap between people who could access education and those who could not. However, those who went abroad, like “Julius Gikonoyo Kiano” returned with the intention of establishing schools in their homeland.
Therefore, the Kenya’s government’s recent attempt to improve the Education quality in the country is not a surprise. Throughout the early years of 2000, several programmes have been conducted to monitor and assess the learning graph of students. The biggest turning point has been in the form of digitizing the entire educational structure of the country by distributing technological gadgets to the students and improving the ICT infrastructure. But some questions are yet to be answered, particularly how suitable are these efforts. Despite the governments earnest effort to digitize school education there are a number of impending questions that needs to be answered. For a country that is dubbed as one of the developing nations of the world, digitizing school education a logical step? Are they enough number of trained teachers and technicians who can effectively use technology in their pedagogy? Do teachers and students have access to multimedia content and curriculum?
In order to keep pace with the rest of the world, the government of Kenya is patronizing e-teaching and e-learning is a big way. But aforementioned questions need to be adequately addressed. Like any other emerging economy of the world, Kenya is a land of obstacles as well as challenges. Balancing both aspects reasonably well is mElimu. The basic premise of mElimu is to offer unique educational advantages in the form of “mElimu tablet”. The best feature of the product is that it keeps into account the local challenges of the content of Africa. Despite the effort of many African countries to improve their ICT infrastructure, there is a tremendous gap when compared to the West and Asia.
The beauty of mElimu is that as opposed to laptops or traditional desktop, the device does not require continuous supply of electricity. Once charged, the battery lasts up to 6-8 hours. It is very easy to handle (not at all bulky and can be carried anywhere) and has a breezy interface. But the best part of the device is that it comes with pre-recorded multimedia content which makes learning engaging and interesting. The best part is yet to come as the device is reasonable priced. On the whole mElimu is a technology that is developed with a lot of research and intent. Coming back to the question, Will Kenyan Government’s Ambitious Plan to Digitize School Education Succeed? My inference is that it certainly would. The reason for this is that not only the government pumping large sum of money to improve education and the ICT field but it has objective to built modern on the pillars of social and economic development.