By Robert Nyagah

Digital innovation experts in the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) are leading the way in the revitalization and expansion of access to education in schools, colleges and universities.

The ICT ministry has played a major role in easing adoption of digital learning in education institutions and the private sector by taking technology right to the doorstep of the Ministry of Education.

Under the now popular Ajira Digital Programme the government has established more than 300 Ajira Youth Empowerment Centres through which the youth access various technical skills through access of key resources.

These resources which include computers, broadband connectivity as well as training and mentorship ease their access to ICT skills facilitating their education, employment and involvement in profitable commerce on digital platforms.

Working with the Ministry of Education, the ICT ministry has succeeded in increasing the number of trained youth under the Ajira Digital Clubs from 21,000 in 2018 to more than 150,000 in 2022.

The ICT ministry has ensured that the Ajira Digital Clubs and its curriculum are embedded in  Colleges, TVETs and Universities where 300 such centres are currently operational.

According to a report from the ICT ministry, the expansion and high adoption of skills under the Ajira Centres especially after the linking of the digital clubs and curriculum to institutions of higher learning, the number of youth working in digitally enabled jobs has increased to 1.9 million from 1.2 million in 2021.

In the most recent digitization undertaking, more than 20 million people from various parts of the country are set to benefit from digital technical skills under a government sponsored training program already in its formative stages – The Digital Literacy Programme.

The programme is being overseen by the ministries of ICT and Education while incorporating renowned international tech firms including Kodris-Africa, Microsoft Africa and Google.

The Ministry of ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru noted that the program was headed for success given the infrastructure available under the Ministry of Education where more than 22,000 schools are equipped with 1.2 million digital devices.

Although the young are expected to dominate the online classes the program will reach adults, a welcome gesture given that in recent years adult education has suffered disruption due to shortage of tutors.

According to the CS, the training programme comes at a time when the government has intensified campaigns to connect remote parts of the country to the internet and also ensure that gadgets such as smart phones, laptops and other digital infrastructure are available to every Kenyan.

Mr. Mucheru says that his ministry in partnership with the Information Communication Technology Authority (ICTA) are keen to ensure that government ministries, learning institutions and state corporations quickly adopt digitization to keep up with the everchanging digital industry.

The CS said that Kenyans were already showing interest in participating in the training program after the signing of the inaugural training package between the ICT Authority and Kodris Africa which played a major role in formulating the curriculum.

The course curriculum underwent inspection and polishing by the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Institute (KICD) before approval meaning that Kenyans undertaking the course will in future use the provided certificates to access employment and do business in and outside the country.

The successful signing of the package according to the chairman of Kodris-Africa Mr. Mwaniki Munuhe is the start of a partnership which in their prospective working stages will revolutionize adoption of ICT skills among Kenyans countrywide.

Apart from equipping course beneficiaries with basic and intermediate skills, Mr. Mucheru notes that there will also be an elaborate ICT security course to be offered which is a welcome intervention given that in the recent past Kenyans have lost huge amounts of their money through internet fraud.

With the government having trained adequate numbers of ICT teachers distributed across various primary and secondary schools nationwide, Mr. Mucheru said he was confident that areas targeted such as education, general digital skills as well as business and commerce were bound to achieve positive growth.

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