The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) has completed the installation of broadband connectivity in 896 public secondary schools spread across 47 counties in Kenya.
With the completion of this phase one project, these schools will now be able to access high speed internet connection of 5Mbps downlink and 1Mbps upload under the Universal Service Fund (USF), established by law to finance regulatory interventions towards ensuring universal access to ICT services across the country.
(TOP: CA Director General Francis Wangsui – second left – and Nyeri CEC member for Education, Science and Technolgy Margaret Wangechi look on as students at Endarasha Boys High School try out new PCs donated by the Authority under its CSR programme. The equipment worth Kshs 3 million is expected to boost learning at the institution).
While speaking in Nyeri last month during CA’s 16th Consumer awareness forum dubbed Kikao Kikuu, Francis Wangusi, CA Director General, announced also said 29 public secondary schools in Nyeri have benefited in the first phase.
The program dubbed the “Education Connectivity Broadband project” targets to connect all the 8,500 public secondary schools in Kenya to high-speed broadband connectivity over the next five years in order to enhance the delivery of educational content and quality learning using ICT platform.
The project is one of the two flagship projects recommended by an ICT Access Gaps study commissioned by CA in 2016 to determine the levels of access to information and communications services in the country. The other is the Voice Infrastructure.
“This project will spur increased broadband connectivity in all parts of the country including rural areas where the beneficiary schools are located and also greatly improve education through digital learning by enabling access to online content by student and teachers,” Wangusi noted.
The cost of connecting the 896 schools is Kshs 837 million and has been contracted to Xtranet Communications Limited – 284 schools, Commcarrier Satellite Services – 291 schools, Liquid Telecommunications Ltd – 321 schools.
Under the USF, all licensees in the ICT sector contribute 0.5 per cent of their annual gross turnover to the kitty.
The broadband education project is being implemented under a partnership between the Authority and the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MoEST) who identified the schools.
The Criteria used to identify the schools included, connection to the national power grid, a secure computer laboratory with at least 10 modern, working computers, ICT trained teachers and resource staff and offering computer studies as an examinable subject at the Kenya Certificate of Education (KCSE) level were the minimum each school is required to have met.
Nyeri Governor Mutahi Kahiga said his county is collaborating with national government through the Manage equipment services (MES) to automate the County referral hospital and Mukurweini Hospital as a step towards enabling universal health care. MES will also provide for installation and operationalization of several systems including the Centralised Picture Archiving and Communication System (PACS).
“As we embrace technology to deliver critical services such as finance, health, agriculture and education there is need to finalize on the laws such as data protection that would assure users of their confidentiality,” Mr Kahiga noted.
The Nyeri Kikao Kikuu themed, Health and ICTs attracted the Mobile Number Network Operators MNO’s, ICT infrastructure providers, government agencies, health care providers , financial institutions , higher learning institutions among others.