Tuesday, 11 October 2011

How ICT Is Improving Youth Opportunities in Rural Kenya

Today, ICT is one of the major building blocks of society. Most of the technological development happening today can be attributed to ICT. Unfortunately, the penetration of ICT in rural Kenya still hasn’t reached its optimum.  The good news, however, is that ICT skills are now part of the Kenyan secondary school curriculum. This means that a significant number of high school graduates in rural Kenya have basic IT skills.

The Kenya Institute of Education (KIE), first introduced computers in rural schools as part of the digital learning program.  The program which was meant to solve the problem of high teacher student ratios was well received in rural areas. This was probably because the rural schools were more affected by teachers shortages when compared to urban schools.

Despite the introduction of computers in Kenyan high schools, the dream of owning a personal computer is still out of reach for many rural youth. In order to gain access to the internet, rural youth in Kenya have to either visit a cyber café/internet café or use a mobile phone. Using a mobile phone to access the internet is not only cheaper but also more reliable since all you need to access the internet is a network enabled phone and a signal.

One of the most notable benefits of ICT in rural Kenya, especially where the youth are concerned, is the access to information. Whether it is accessing information on colleges or universities or looking for a job, rural Kenyan youth today, literally have this information at their fingertips. This has not only made their quest for higher education and employment cheaper but also less time consuming.

Secondly, ICT and in particular the internet has made it possible for rural Kenyan youth to interact and network with their peers. This opens up a lot of opportunities for them since they are able to access real time information.