1-to-1 computing initiative in a developing country
evidence from Kenya
As the world becomes increasingly digitized, a number of policy instruments are being leveraged by governments to enhance the digital literacy of their citizens. Among some of these instruments, is the 1-to-1 (one child per laptop) educational computing initiative that is being adopted in schools. Some developing countries, in spite of their limited budget and challenges around digital technology, have toyed with the idea of employing this initiative to enhance their local digital literacy, alongside other digital literacy programs. This is evidenced by the numerous pilot programs in countries like China, Sri‐Lanka, Rwanda, Mexico, just to name but a few. But is such a method really feasible, especially if it were to be implemented within the entire public education system of a given country?
This paper tries to find an answer to that by examining the 1-to-1 initiative that was implemented in Kenya beginning 2016. Through the case study of Kakamega Municipality located in one of Kenya’s prominent cities, Kakamega, it assesses how the program evolved on the ground vis-à-vis the government’s program design. This study opts to analyze that and then draw out implications from the experience.
The finding is that implementing 1-to-1 initiative within the public schools (and on a national scale) in a developing country is quite hard due to a number of reasons, one of them being lack of adequate financial resources. As such in the quest to enhance the digital literacy levels of its citizens, alternatives are necessary. And if the 1 to 1 initiative is insisted upon, proper foundations have to be laid.
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