Publishers, animators to benefit as State calls for laptops content


Pupils use laptops to conduct their studies. The Digital Literacy Programme is set to start in January. PHOTO | FILE

Publishers and animators are set to be among the biggest beneficiaries of the school laptops project after the government opened a window for them to develop digital content for learners.

The Digital Literacy Programme initiative which will see pupils in primary schools given free laptops is set to start next year.

It will offer an opportunity for most public school pupils to access education materials through devices such as laptops, personal computers and tablets. The courses will be accessible both online and offline.

And Longhorn Publishers is already betting on digital books to reach a wider audience and grow its revenue. The only Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE)- listed publisher in a September interview with the Business Daily said it has digitised all its books which are currently available on Amazon and Worldreader.

The firm has also signed a partnership with Samsung to avail its digitised content on its devices, and is also seeking similar partnerships with local mobile telecommunication firms.

“What we see in the coming years is that more and more revenue will be generated from the digital books,” said Longhorn managing director Simon Ngigi in the interview.

The government through the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) Tuesday said it has already completed developing five subjects for Class One in digital format, including Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, English and Kiswahili.

To ease the learning process different interactivities have been incorporated including animations, videos and audio cartoons and puppetry.

Education secretary Fred Matiang’i said Tuesday the government plans to hold a digital content stakeholders conference in February to create awareness about the opportunities available and the process to be followed in approving digital education content.

“We have liberalised the development of digital content, all publishers and content developers are welcome now to participate. The content will however be regulated by the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) to ensure standards are met as per curriculum objectives,” said Mr Matiang’i.

The secretary also launched the curriculum guidelines and training manual for primary school teachers on Information Communication Technology (ICT) integration into the learning.

READ: How businesses will gain from e-learning taking off next year

The government has scheduled training of teachers on ICT integration starting January 2016.

The education quality regulator said that the curriculum guidelines for the execution of the programme have been completed. These include the requirement for a new universal platform and another for special needs education.

Also developed is a draft cloud education strategy that will be shared with stakeholders for review to ensure sound basis for content delivery.

The e-readiness survey for primary schools shows that 11,744 schools out of the 18,184 respondents were connected to power.

Although not a new concept in the country, providing education content through laptops or tablets has been a preserve of privileged learners in elite private schools and a few public schools.

The digital learning initiative is expected to widen the market for digital education materials, initially for lower classes in public schools and upper classes in future when the project is scaled up. The programme is also expected to offer new opportunities to animators.

The launch of the Class One digital content follows the short-listing of six leading local universities and four ICT firms early this month for the supply, installation and commissioning of the digital learning solution for the about 22,000 public primary schools.

The overall winner(s) will be expected to supply, install and commission the digital learning devices first to 150 selected schools in the 47 counties.