Kenya has a plan of implementing laptops for class one students, a plan that has since been allocated funds and suppliers invited to bid for the Laptops supply that is expected to roll out in the first quarter of 2014. This doesn’t seem to be the case as the reserve price for the bids set by government is way low than what the lowest bidder for the tender offered.
The government set a price of Kshs 9.7 billion (USD 111m) but the lowest bidder offered a price three times that at Kshs 39.1 Billion. Samsung has gone further to pull out from the tender bids and is moving to partner with universities on a similar project although the Electronics giant had expressed interest in the project for the longest time. Samsung had big plans for the laptops for schools project that would be all inclusive.
The University project is set up at JKUAT where students will be getting Samsung laptops and the bill is pushed over to be paid together with school fees. This will be in the ultimate goal of an e-learning programme that will ensure that college students have access to laptops to ensure they are well equipped with these necessary tools for learning.
There has been quite many calls from Kenyans to have the laptop for schools project be moved further up to either secondary school or college school students who have an actual need for the laptops in their learning to enable them scale up their study and research. This while at the same time ensuring that they have more than a computer lab for their studies. The e-learning partnership by Samsung and JKUAT will ensure that these students are able to access laptops at a cost that is broken down.
Some time ago in an interview with Prof.Mabel Imbuga, JKUAT Vice Chancellor, I learnt that JKUAT had announced that the University will be taking up a project to assemble laptops and at the same time Samsung also has plans to set up an assembling plant in Kenya.
It would be interesting if this would be the same project as Samsung has trained engineers in Kenya who graduated recently and JKUAT is an engineering school. This would ensure that more jobs are created and a value chain also set up where the region to be served includes the wider East Africa.