Global companies are jostling for Kenya’s lucrative education sector by unveiling programmes that promote uptake of technology in classrooms. The multinationals, including Microsoft, Intel Corp and Google, are targeting teachers and learners with a myriad of ICT solutions to ensure strategic positioning once the local education sector goes big on technology.
Through a programme, ‘Partners in Learning’, leading software maker, Microsoft on Wednesday held a one-day workshop in partnership with Nairobi’s Makini School where teachers showcased innovative ways of inculcating technology in learning. The company has been running a training programme for teachers and providing free online learning aids as strategy to promote e-learning across Kenya schools.
The drive would not only benefit learners but also create appetite for the company’s educational solutions as information communication technology (ICT) takes root in schools.
Mark Matunga, Microsoft, East and Southern Africa regional education manager, told the Business Daily that Partners in Learning is a 10-year nearly $1billion (Sh92 billion) commitment by the company to help education systems around the world.
Since its inception in 2003, the programme has reached more than 196 million teachers and students in 114 countries including Kenya.
“ICT adoption has increased because of high literacy level and uptake of ICT…when you have an educated market, they will be able to consume ICT services and products,” said Mr Matunga. “That is how we decided to invest in education rather than go for quick money making ventures.”
Through its Intel Teach programme, Intel has trained more than nine million teachers worldwide to use PCs in the classroom and is also donating 100,000 PCs to developing countries like Kenya to help accelerate technology use in the classroom. It has invested over a billion dollars in more than 60 countries for various e-learning initiatives.
Giant Internet search company, Google, also recently announced a programme in partnership with key government agencies for teachers.
The project Gfunze, (corrupted Swahili word meaning teach yourself), the aims to entrench technology in teaching as Google seeks to increase users in Africa, said country marketing manager Farzana Khubchandani.
Gfunze is a partnership between Google and ministries of Education, Information, the Teachers’ Service Commission, Kenya ICT Board and Vision 2030 secretariat.
Google is using the pilot project to make foray into the secondary education space, having targeted universities in the past. Applications that are part of Gfunze include Google Search, Google Earth and Google Apps, a document processing suite.
“I would like to encourage other technology multinationals to invest in education for the long-term benefit of economies,” said Mr Matunga.
The ministries of Education and Information are also rolling out ICT infrastructure in schools to lay ground for uptake of technology in education.
At the forum held at Makini School yesterday more than 20 schools from across Kenya participated.
“The main aim of the innovative teacher forum is to provide an opportunity for a community of teachers to share best practices on using ICT in education,” said Makini School project co-ordinator Bernard Mbeya. Microsoft would sponsor a winner from the forum to attend a global innovative education forum in Jordan next month.