Little Stella Omondi was four years old and had joined Class One when she first heard that the Kenyan government would offer them laptops.
Omondi, who was then ecstatic, looked forward to being the first pupil in the East African nation to start using the gadgets in school.
As many other children of her age then, the word laptop refused to leave her mind and mouth and she would utter it to anyone who cared to listen.
Omondi is now in Class Three in a public school in the capital Nairobi. The laptops have not come following numerous implementation challenges, which include court cases, President Uhuru Kenyatta’s government is facing but that has not made Omondi forget about the gadgets.
The six-year-old still talks about them and she is hopeful that one day the project will be implemented while she is still in primary school.
“I want to use a laptop in school,” she said on Sunday. My father does not allow me to use his because he says I will spoil it. He has also not shown me how to use one.”
The little girl’s dream of using a laptop is shared by millions of pupils in Kenya’s primary schools as the government delays in implementing one of its election pledges.
The promise was made in 2013 and the program is about two years behind schedule, but this has not killed students’ spirit.
“I believe that I will not complete Class Eight without using a laptop. I have seen it in pictures and I know how it looks like, but I have never touched it or used it,” said 10-year-old Japheth Kimelu.
Kimelu comes from a family of four with humble means. Thus, it is unimaginable that his father would buy for him a laptop to play with as he has seen other children do in top private schools neighboring Kayole where he stays and learns.
A recent survey by research firm Ipsos showed that Kenyans have not forgotten about President Kenyatta’s laptop pledge.
However, the majority of them want the government to build computer laboratories in the 22,000 primary schools rather than providing the Class One pupils with laptops.
Deputy President William Ruto has assured the government will roll out the project before the next general election.
“We are still keen on it because it will bring the transformation that the country requires through technology,” he said. Enditem