Children from MM Shah and Mv Shah Primary School in Mombasa learn using laptops. School head teacher Edward Oboya said the project of supplying students with laptops started in 2011 and is now catering for all pupils from Standard One to Standard Eight. PHOTO: MAARUFU MOHAMED/STANDARD

Children from MM Shah and Mv Shah Primary School in Mombasa learn using laptops. School head teacher Edward Oboya said the project of supplying students with laptops started in 2011 and is now catering for all pupils from Standard One to Standard Eight. PHOTO: MAARUFU MOHAMED/STANDARD

Two years after he made the promise, President Kenyatta said many primary schools had been connected to the main electricity grid and thousands of teachers trained in readiness for the roll out.

Uhuru said despite the faulty start, public primary school pupils still stand a chance to benefit from the big promise.

But that also means the hopes of 1.2 million pupils who were enrolled in Standard One last year have been dashed as they have now moved to Standard Two.

The delicate procurement process denied these pupils the much-awaited Information and Communication Technology (ICT) lessons as the matter moved to court after the tender was awarded.

The award was cancelled after a Chinese firm, Haier Electricals Appliances Corporation Limited, and Hewlett-Packard Limited from Europe (HP) appealed against the tender award at the Public Procurement Administrative Review Board. The board revoked the tender citing various flaws in the process.

But the tender winner, Indian firm Olive Telecommunications Pvt, moved to court to appeal the nullification.

In his State of the Nation address, Uhuru said 18,424 of the 21,500 schools had been connected to electricity.

?The remaining 3,076 schools shall be connected to electricity by the end of next month,? he said.

Rural Electrification Authority (REA) Chairman Simon Gicharu said they were working round the clock to ensure the President?s dream was realised.

?We have put in place necessary measures to ensure we move according to plan,? said Mr Gicharu.

Uhuru said once completed, this would be the biggest electricity connection to schools since independence.

?When my Government took over about two years ago, only 8,200 schools had been connected to electricity,? he said, adding that Sh1.2 billion had been transferred to the schools for refurbishment of ICT hardware storage rooms.

The Ministry of Education had initially projected that Sh3 billion would be required to install charging cabinets and refurbish laptops storage rooms.

It was also projected that each of the public primary schools would get four new laptops, two projectors and a printer to be used by teachers.

RECRUIT TEACHERS

Uhuru said the provision of electricity to schools would also accelerate the already ?rapid penetration of Internet connectivity, linking people to knowledge and far-off opportunities?.

The Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut), however, wants the laptops money used to recruit more teachers.

?It is now clear that this laptops programme may not kick off. The immediate concern is recruiting enough teachers. Let the money be given to the Teachers Service Commission to hire more teachers,? said Knut Secretary General Wilson Sossion.

Uhuru said over 2,500 teachers had undergone ICT training in readiness for the roll out.

By Augustine Oduor, The Standard

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