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Why e-Learning is Not Being Effective During this COVID-19 Pandemic

One of the ripple effects of COVID – 19 is the paralyzation of education all over the country.

Following months of ‘stay at home,’ Education CS Prof George Magoha has always insisted end year national exams will stake place.

However, with a clever eye to possible elongation of the ‘stay-at-home’ measure depending on what transpires with the Coronavirus, he has still maintained that he is open to learners staying at home as long as necessary.

E-learning can be a great tool if used effectively, but it is proving to be difficult in Kenya during this Coronavirus pandemic.

You can only assume at your peril that learners will access radios, television sets, or the internet.

In most relationship books an African parent strives to provide basic needs such as food and shelter. It is in no way viable that all students all over the country can access the e-learning services provided, since they come from diverse backgrounds.

Reasons Why E-learning Has not Worked Effectively in Kenya

The following are the reasons why e-learning has not worked in Kenya so far.

1. Failed Laptops project / Most Students Lack Digital Gadgets to Connect Online

Political campaigns in the recent past promised many a thing in the quest to improve the standards of living of Kenyans.

One of those things is the incorporation of computers in the process of teaching i.e. Computer-Aided Learning (CAL) and Computer-Aided Instruction (CAI).

However, starting the project encountered problems such as lack of electricity in a number of public schools, and inadequately trained personnel employed by the government as teachers or trainers of prospective technology.

While there are many ‘IT guys’ out there not employed, the government has not actively sought to incorporate their skills.

Failure of the laptops project for public primary schools has left pupils still in the dark with no computer skills to help them in this lockdown period.

Now we can only hope against adversity that COVID-19 can be contained sooner so that learners can meet teachers ASAP.

2. Limited Access to the Internet/Connectivity

Without access to the internet, it is impossible to learn online.

The United Nations broadband Commission reported that 8 out of 10 nations with the lowest levels of internet accessibility are in Sub-Saharan Africa. Even though Kenya may not be one of those, many students are not able to afford devices that effectively connect to the internet.

Besides affordability of gadgets like mobile phones and computers, there is the problem of cost of intenet data.

Even though Kenya leads in Africa in terms of internet connectivity by having the highest bandwidth per person, the costs of the internet are still beyond the reach of many households.

3. Inadequate Locally developed content / Online Curriculum

Another challenge of online education is the unavailability of locally developed content online.

Most of the tertiary institutions in Kenya still use education materials from the United States of America or the United Kingdom. There seems to be little to almost zero desire to develop local content for use in tertiary institutions.

However, Secondary and Primary Schools have enough education materials, but the content is still mostly offline in the form of textbooks, storybooks et cetera.

4. Training and Professional Development

Another reason as to why e-learning has not worked effectively in Kenya is due to the effect of the current education system. I mean the system which current teachers went through.

That education system did not or negligibly involved the use of computers. This implies that many teachers are not ICT compliant. It is commonplace to find a primary school teacher who cannot operate a laptop or a desktop computer.

Effective incorporation of technology in the education system in Kenya will make it possible to implement e-learning in the future.

5. No Organizational Structure in Delivery of the Little available E-learning Content

What KICD and KBC have been doing is a commendable effort. However, the way they are doing it raises many questions. If for example, you are a class eight student you will have one program of one subject and then there is no clear schedule for the other subjects. This leaves students with little motivation especially when they are not able to follow along through the lessons.

6. Little or No Parental Supervision on Learners

While in schools there are teachers to ensure students are following lessons keenly, at home it is merely having a radio or the television on. This gives children the option of changing the channels and viewing the more interesting ones like cartoon channels.

Besides, there is no supervision from the ministry of education either to see whether what they are broadcasting has been useful.

The feedback requested by the KICD through social media platforms as they try to keep our lrarners busy, may not give a true reflection of what transpires on the ground.


E-learning is a great tool but we have to use it in a way that provides efficiency. Parents should be aware that the radios and television sets can be a useful tool in educating their children. The government should also chip in effectively and change the landscape of education in the whole country and fully integrate technology or rather the use of computers in schools. Otherwise, it will be impossible to ascertain the benefit of e-learning.

However, e-learning should continue and keep the students busy. As much as it is wise to let e-learning continue, national examinations at the end of the year, if done, should assume the bare minimum of those students who did not access e-learning due to many reasons including inaffordability.

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