UNESCO and Huawei, in collaboration with the Government of Kenya through the Ministries of Education; ICT, Innovation and Youth Affairs; and the ICT Authority, have launched Digischool project aimed at providing free internet connectivity to 13 schools in Kenya.
The move is part of the Global Education Coalition (GEC).The pilot project was launched on December 17, 2021 in Maragima Primary School, Nyeri County, one of the 13 beneficiary schools.
The launch was officiated by Mr. Joe Mucheru, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of ICT, Innovation and Youth Affairs; UNESCO Regional Director, Professor Hubert Gijzen; CEO Huawei Kenya, Mr. Will Meng; Chairman of ICT Authority Prof. Fredrick Owino; Acting CEO, ICT Authority, Dr. Kipronoh Ronoh; Mrs. Sabina Aron, County Director of Education; and Nyeri County Commissioner, Mr. Lyford Kibaara, among other key stakeholders.
During the launch ceremony, the connection to the Internet was tested by setting up a virtual meeting which enabled participants in the 13 connected schools to interact virtually.
In his remarks, the Cabinet Secretary emphasized the government’s efforts over the previous decade to demonstrate its commitment to improving quality of education through the use of technology by connecting the majority of schools to power and distributing over 1.1 million digital devices to teachers and students. Furthermore, he applauded the ongoing partnership of UNESCO and Huawei in supporting the GoK to connect schools in a bid to enhance equity, access and quality of learning with the aspiration to Leave No One Behind (LNOB).
UNESCO Regional Director for Eastern Africa, Prof. Hubert Gijzen, congratulated Huawei and the government for supporting the school connectivity initiative under the ‘Global Education Coalition’ – a broad partnership which today has grown to some 200 members – to accelerate the deployment of remote learning solutions to ensure continuity of education in times of COVID-19 lock downs and beyond.
Huawei Kenya CEO, Mr. Will Meng stated that fiber and wireless microwave technologies may be employed to bring ultra-high speed broadband to schools, especially in rural regions “By offering high-speed Wi-Fi throughout the school, we can make a difference in education and, as a result, in the country’s future,” he stated. The initiative builds on the Kenyan government’s existing investments in educational devices and content, utilizing the National Optic Fibre Backbone Infrastructure (NOFBI), which reaches across most counties in the country.