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242,053 School Tablets Missing

242,053 School Tablets Missing

Schools are unable to account for more than two hundred thousand laptops that were intended to integrate technology in all primary public schools.

The Ministry of Education’s audit of educational institutions revealed 242,053 missing tablets.

Former President Uhuru Kenyatta conceptualized the laptop project, and each student in class one was to receive a tablet as part of the Digital Learning Programme (DLP).

The audit reveals that only 835,981 of the 1.078 million tablets reportedly distributed by the government to public primary schools can be accounted for.

This means that approximately 242,053 school tablets have gone missing or unaccounted for, indicating that they were either spoiled, stolen, or lost. The laptops were distributed between 2016 and 2017.

The loss could hinder efforts to integrate e-learning into Kenyan classrooms.

The information can be found in the Ministry of Education’s most recent school audit, titled Basic Education Statistical Booklet 2020. The Ministry’s corporate communications office distributed the document to newsrooms last week.

In the report, Bungoma County has the highest number of unaccounted devices, with 741 schools receiving 58,871 tablets. According to data from the Ministry of Education, there are presently only 40,930 tablets in the county’s schools.

Schools in Kakamega County have the second-highest number of missing tablet devices, with 14,817 out of 66,404 devices distributed to 880 schools.

In Siaya, 10,457 unaccounted-for devices remain; the county received 31,746 tablets for 643 primary schools.

Unaccounted-for devices totaled 9,866 in Narok, 9,729 in Busia, 9,131 in Kilifi, 8,677 in Homa Bay, 8,516 in Kisii, 8,006 in Kitui, 7,256 in Nakuru, and 7,182 in West Pokot.

In contrast, schools in Taita Taveta, Lamu, and Isiolo had the lowest number of schools unable to account for their tablets.

Taita Taveta

Of the 7,025 tablets distributed in Taita Taveta, the Ministry of Education audit found that 6,047 were in schools. This indicates that schools in the county cannot account for 978 devices.

In Lamu, there are 977 unaccounted devices, while in Isiolo there are only 953 unaccounted devices.

In 2022, it was discovered that some of the tablets intended for schools had made their way to Uganda after a Facebook post by a vendor advertising the tablets for Sh4,000 was shared. In 2016, hundreds of branded tablets were stolen from four schools in Bungoma County, Kenya; 71 of the stolen tablets were recovered in Uganda in 2021.

The devices were reportedly recovered after a Ugandan suspect transporting them on a motorcycle was apprehended at an unofficial border crossing. In 2017, it was alleged that 46 tablets provided to Mosobecho Primary School in Nandi County as part of a digital literacy program were stolen.

In the same year, police recovered 33 stolen tablets from Kwale County’s Mwena Primary School. However, the report provides no explanation regarding the location of the went missing devices.

However, the fate of integrating ICT into teaching and learning in Kenyan schools remains uncertain, as the second phase of the programme has made little to no progress. In addition to the lack of devices, the report identifies inadequate internet connectivity as a significant barrier to e-learning in schools.

It reveals that only 19.7 percent of public primary schools out of 21,772 have an operational internet connection. The report states, “Internet access devices and bandwidth may not be sufficient to support school-wide e-learning.”

The Sh24.6 billion ‘laptop’ initiative was promoted as the solution to the schools’ lack of digital skills. In 2016, the government reportedly began distributing 1.17 million devices to 21,772 public elementary schools through the Ministry of ICT.

According to data from the ICT ministry, 1.08 million of these devices were tablets for students, 43,240 devices for teachers, 21,620 routers, 21,620 projectors, and 1,571 devices for students with special needs.

Upon its inception in 2016, the government devised a plan to equip 95% of Class 1 students with tablets. However, the implementation was unsuccessful, with only 5% of schools utilizing the acquired devices.

In February of 2019, the government provided an impassioned response to the claim that the laptops initiative is a total failure.

In a presentation to the education committee of the national assembly, Principal Secretary of Basic Education Belio Kipsang disclosed that the plan to digitalize teaching and learning in schools would be implemented in three phases, with Phase I focusing on Grades one to three.

This is the tablet provision. Phase II was intended for learners in Grades four to six and was to be implemented between 2019 and 2022; however, its implementation has progressed slowly, whereas phase III targeted learners in Grades seven and above.

Kipsang announced that the Ministry of Education had abandoned the provision of tablets, and that in the second phase of the DLP, the State would instead concentrate on the construction of computer laboratories in schools.

Instead, he disclosed that each of the country’s 25,000 public primary schools would receive one computer laboratory.

In the meantime, the Presidential Working Group on Education Reform has proposed reviving the pursuit of e-learning in schools to support the implementation of the Competency-Based Curriculum.

The reforms team has asked the government to set the groundwork for ICT integration in schools.

242,053 School Tablets Missing

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