News Column

Opportunities abound in major projects

May 22, 2014

Douglas Nderitu -1



In the Budget estimates released by National Treasury secretary Henry Rotich, the government allocated big amounts to flagship projects in energy, railways, laptops, irrigation and maternal health.

With Sh17.4 billion allocated to the laptop project, the sector is on the brink of a major transformation. For the lucky few who are not willing to be left at the dock, it's an opportunity to learn new skills that will equip us to take advantage of the opportunities that lie ahead.

More than 1.2 million laptops will be purchased, which should take care of all Standard One pupils at all public schools countrywide, development of digital content, building capacity for teachers, and setting up computer labs for upper primary pupils.

My first guess is that if the government rolls out laptops in all public primary schools then the proprietors of private schools will have no choice but to build the same capacity or better.

This presents opportunities to companies and individuals to supply laptops, load content, train and set up computer labs at private schools across the country.

Another big area of opportunity lies in development of a digital curriculum. While it is true that the government has regulators who develop and regulate content to be used for learning, there is a huge space for content that is not particularly targeted as examinable such as cultural, religious, games, ethics, wildlife etc.

Platforms

I think development of valuable content that is out of the prescribed examinable curriculum may be big business over time. The thousands of youths interested in programming should start researching and prepare themselves on building such applications.

There is also computer repairs, maintenance, installations and training. Another green area is in computer peripherals like printers, projectors, scanners, Network Attached Storage (NAS) devices, docking stations, bulk power supply systems and portable power.

These may be value additions especially in private schools, once the computer labs are set up. There will be need to network the systems and with networks there is a need for central storage hence the NAS devices.

Providers and installers of these devices and accessories will definitely hit a booming market.

Lastly, there lies a fine opportunity in the area of eLearning and I mean digital content that can be accessed through the internet.

As the schools get more comfortable in using the new platforms and have fully adapted to the systems, it is inevitable that they will start warming up to a blended learning or hybrid approach where the pupils can work from home through the internet.

As we celebrate the new transformations that are coming, are we ready to ride the wave?

The writer works in Nation Media Group's IT department.


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Source: Business Daily (Kenya)