The world is steadily transforming to a digital village. Virtually every other sector is now getting digitized. The world is embracing this changing digital landscape. Communication has become cheaper and faster. Transactions can now be done through clicking buttons, features which were non-existent a while ago. It is no brainer that for you to assert yourself in this digital age, you have to be endowed with some level of technology skills lest competition and being obsolete will phase you out from the economic and social space.
According to the US Bureau of Labor statistics, more than 50% of today’s jobs require some degree of technology skills. Experts have projected that the demand for these skills will jump to 77% within the next decade. This therefore begs the question of preparedness for the future generation. How well are we equipping the younger generation while they are in school for the 21st century workplace?
It would not make sense to want to impact technology skills in kids yet ignoring the very tutors mandated to help these kids learn. It is in this light that yesterday, Mwalimu National launched an initiative to digitize and improve service delivery in the country‘s education sector. Mwalimu National, Africa‘s largest Sacco with over 70,000 members, partnered with Intel, Microsoft, Lenovo, Tecno, Safaricom and Nakumatt Holdings to promote the “Mwalimu Digital“ initiative. This initiative will enable Kenyan teachers to get low interest and friendly loans to acquire modern computers.
Teachers across the country, both rural and urban areas, will benefit from this initiative and thus eradicate the digital and technology divide in Kenya. The government has made efforts on Digital Literacy Project by offering tablets in various parts of the country such as Mandera. The Ministry of Education in partnership with Safaricom, UNICEF, Intel and Kenya Institute of Education have embarked on rolling out an e-learning programme through support on building the infrastructure, capacity building the stakeholders and developing digital curriculum support materials for Kenyan schools, to enable teaching and learning activities be carried out using technology.
Mwalimu Initiative was launched to complement these efforts by reducing affordability barriers for all teachers in Kenya to acquire their own devices and become digital professionals. Mwalimu National Sacco CEO, Robert Shibutse remarked that ICT has the potential to bridge the knowledge gap in terms of improving quality of education, increasing the quantity of quality educational opportunities, making knowledge building possible through borderless and boundless accessibility to resources and people as well as reaching populations in remote areas to satisfy their basic right to education.
The laptops will be sold at discounted prices and on loans. Teachers will be allowed to pay up to 36 monthly installments at an interest rate of 12%P.A and that’s basically about sh. 1000-1500 per month. The laptops will also be bundled with digital teacher content purchased from Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development. These affordable laptops will also be bundled with one year Microsoft office 365. All teachers have to do is apply for a loan, wait for Mwalimu National to approve it then they can collect the device after 48hrs of approval. The digital content will also be available for downloading.
The objective of the initiative is to get more teachers connected and empowered with digital skills.