A primary school in a sleepy rural setting has become a pioneer in information and communication technology (ICT) in Africa. Kikambala Primary School, whose transport mode from the main road is the bicycle taxi, is now a leader in e-learning in the continent through the initiative of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (Nepad).
And credit goes to the management of Sun N' Sand Beach Resort in Kikambala, for taking a shot at a Nepad e-schools programme targeting secondary schools.
Now the school has become the first primary school in Africa to have the e-learning facilities that include a Vsat connection, 27 branded computers, a fully furnished room and a smart board that could be the envy of any institution offering computer lessons. The smart board acts like a blackboard that operates when it is touched.
The Microsoft Consortium and Ministry of Education support the initiative launched on June 26. The concept is aimed at equipping learners, teachers and members of the local community with relevant computer skills. So far 51, have been trained. Pupils will have to wait a little longer for the training for teachers and the community members to be completed before they can start theirs. The e-school programme, launched in Kenya in September 2005 by President Mwai Kibaki, is intended to nurture the appropriate capacity for sustainable development of the continent.
The 10-year Nepad flagship e-schools initiative involves establishment of an Africa-wide satellite network that will connect the schools to the internet as well as to points within each country from which, educational content will be fed to the schools on a continuous basis. It also involves ICT training of teachers and students, content and curriculum development, community involvement and participation, and establishment of health points. The Nepad e-schools demonstration (demo) project has been identified as a critical initial step for the implementation of e-schools project. Six schools, from each of the participating countries, will initially benefit from the demo.