CA earmarks Kshs 800 million to provide broadband connectivity to public secondary schools

The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) is set to connect 54 public secondary schools in Bungoma County to high speed Internet.

This is part of plan that will see CA link all public secondary schools in the country to broadband Internet at a cost of Kshs 800 million under the Universal Service Fund (USF).

(TOP: CA Director General Francis Wangusi takes Bungoma Gov Ken Lusaka (second right) around the CA stand at the Bungoma edition of the county ICT consumer Forum known as Kikao Kikuu. Bungoma was the 12th county to host the forum).

Already the Authority, through the Ministry of Education has identified 896 schools it has earmarked to connect to the high speed Internet during the financial year 2016/2017.

The Authority will support the project for four years, contributing 100 per cent funding in the first year, while in the second year, CA will contribute 75 per cent of the cost with the Ministry of Education financing the remaining 25 per cent. In the third year, the Authority and the education ministry will split the costs equally at 50 per cent while in the fourth year, the CA will contribute a quarter of the costs with the Ministry of Education shouldering 75 per cent of the total costs.

CA Director General Francis Wangusi said the schools were selected based on their ICT readiness, meaning that they had to have computer labs and must have enrolled their students for Kenya Certificate of Secondary Examination (KCSE) Computer examinations.

“We have entered a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Ministry of Education to identify the Schools. So far we have identified 896 secondary schools,” Wangusi said on recently during the twelfth edition of its ICT Consumer Forum dubbed Kikao Kikuu in Bungoma County.

“We believe this is going to be a foundation through which we will grow our capacity in ICT and also enable our young children to start developing their critical skills in ICTs,” Wangusi added.

The Universal Service Fund has so far collected Kshs 4.7 Billion. The Fund was established in 2009 to subsidize the cost of ICT infrastructure roll out and expansion in un-served and underserved areas.

The Fund is primarily financed through mandatory contributions by licensed operators who contribute O.5 per cent of their gross revenue.

Bungoma Governor Kenneth Lusaka said the county is keen to work closely with the national government and its agencies such as CA to ensure they take full advantage of ICTs and the potential it has to spur innovation.

“The possibility of Bungoma County and by extension our country Kenya becoming a knowledge-based society hinges on the harnessing of ICT capabilities,” Lusaka noted.

Last month, CA announced plans to connect five secondary schools in Kwale County to broadband.

Kikao Kikuu is a County ICT Consumer forum hosted by the CA to engage users of ICT services on the quality of services as well as ICT opportunities in the various counties.

Additionally, the Authority is also devolving its and already has a regional office in Eldoret covering 12 counties of the north rift and the larger western regions. It is set to open other offices in Kisumu and Nyeri in the coming year.

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