Microsoft has pledged its support to Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta’s plan to provide free laptops to Class One pupils by promising to assist in teaching teachers to implement the project.
In a meeting with Kenyatta today, Microsoft global president Jean-Philippe Courtois said his company would provide training to primary school teachers by January next year.
Courtois said his company will work with different partners to develop at least five enterprises in each county to provide technical support in hardware, connectivity and software to all schools in the country.
Kenyatta welcomed the support from Microsoft and said the government is ready to enter into partnerships that will facilitate the implementation of cost effective ICT programmes.
He further called upon the Education and Information Communication and Technology ministries to work with Microsoft in order to come up with a framework for rolling out the partnership immediately.
The president said he will not allow Kenya to only be a recipient of content, saying that his government will empower citizens, especially the youth, to develop ICT programmes themselves.
He asked Microsoft to develop a sustainable model that includes local assembly of computers as well as local software and content development which can be replicated in other African countries.
HumanIPO reported last week on environmental lobby group the Green Hand Organisation (GHO) filing a petition to Kenya’s High Court in a bid to halt the policy, arguing the laptops will put the country’s environmental health at risk.
Microsoft also announced it is to develop a research and innovation hub at Konza Tech City to support software developers in the country, saying through Microsoft’s universal access to broadband programme the company will provide connectivity to rural schools, hospitals and homes.