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ICT4E in the Spotlight in Kenya

Kenya’s Citizen TV today [October 28th] hosted Permanent Secretary for Information and Communication Dr. Bitange Ndemo and Alex Twinomugisha of GESCI on its ‘Power Breakfast Show’. The show was somewhat uncontentious as both guests agreed on the fundamental importance of ICT to Education, and thus entrepreneurship and economic growth. As Twinomugisha candidly put it ‘the Bill Gates’ of this world don’t materialise from the vapor – they come from education systems’. Ndemo noted that most entrepreneurs are not academics, but have skills that can transform ideas into businesses and initiatives in every shape and form. These skills in many cases are nurtured and identified by teachers and institutions in the education system.

Kenya’s Citizen TV today [October 28th] hosted Permanent Secretary for Information and Communication Dr. Bitange Ndemo and Alex Twinomugisha of GESCI on its ‘Power Breakfast Show’. The show was somewhat uncontentious as both guests agreed on the fundamental importance of ICT to Education, and thus entrepreneurship and economic growth.

As Twinomugisha candidly put it ‘the Bill Gates’ of this world don’t materialise from the vapor – they come from education systems’. Ndemo noted that most entrepreneurs are not academics, but have skills that can transform ideas into businesses and initiatives in every shape and form.

These skills in many cases are nurtured and identified by teachers and institutions in the education system. It’s naive to imagine, was the prevailing message, that Kenya can breed a savvy entrepreneurial class that can galvanise the economy without the input of a good and relevant education.

Few of the power show’s tech literate viewers objected to this underlying premise but others expressed their agitation about a range of issues, mostly practical, such as the lack of broadband in rural areas; the lack of progress on the digital villages project; and the ‘wanting IT’ infrastructure at the Ministry for Information and Communications. That many Kenyans are passionate about the issue of ICT in Education at all levels of the education system is not in question. What was questioned however is the limited role of the private sector in developing digital content for what Twinomugisha claimed is a global industry set to rival the movie industry in terms of dollar worth. The Kenya Institute of Education is currently responsible for developing e-content for curricula. Dr. Ndemo expressed his desire to see the private sector take greater ownership of this process, which would presumably bring more innovation, efficiency and employment to the nascent e-content development sector in Kenya.

Given the current unrest in Kenya it’s refreshing to see that not all issues of vital importance to long-term economic growth and prosperity are being overshadowed by wanton violence.

By Niamh Brannigan

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