Kenya Power is planning to connect all public schools with the internet.
There’s a plan to roll out the internet using Kenya Power transmission lines, the implementation will be a collaboration between the Information and Communication Technology Authority, Ministry of Energy and Communication Authority.
So far the power company has managed to connect over 22,000 schools with power and they also have plans to use the same infrastructure to steam fibre to all the public learning institutions.
ICT Authority acting director programmes and standard, Thomas Odhiambo said:
“We estimate within two years we will have completed. The internet that comes to your school already purchased by the government will be through the Kenya Education Cloud to ensure all the content is properly vetted,”
What is the main goal?
Since the pandemic became an active part of our lives most educational institutions had no other option but to incorporate blended learning as well as digital learning in general. Mr Odhiambo said the internet penetration will capture villages touching 10 million households.
“This will blend learning and ensure we get the internet productivity that a nation can get. Internet penetration is crucial for development,” he said, noting that internet connectivity is crucial for growth in digital learning.
He said the government has formed a special purpose vehicle with Etisalat in Fujairah (Dubai) to ensure Kenya is connected.
“Fujairah is where Kenya gets its internet from. With that we will get all the internet we can ever need. There’s a submarine cable from Mombasa to Fujairah that will bring all the internet we ever need,” he said.
Even though Kenya currently gets about 9,000km of fibre it is still inadequate.
Mr Odhiambo said so far some 9,000km of fibre has reached all the sub-counties distributing internet in Kenya. However, he said the 9,000km of fibre is not enough. The Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Authority has so far issued 1.2 million devices for the Digital Literacy Program (DLP) in 22, 890 public primary schools.
He said DLP was the largest undertaking by the government globally to deliver digital devices.
Mr Odhiambo said the programme has won Kenya accolades globally with many African countries, European and South American delegation pitching camp in the country to learn about the DLP.
He said in some schools, Grade One learners in Kenya are now learning doing tests through digital devices.
“The creativity you find in Kenya is just enormous. Nobody would have imagined this would be possible. When the internet comes to a country usually through the submarine cables it has to be distributed and this was done by the government,” said Mr Odhiambo.
“This fibre is used by both the government and private sector who are using part of it to offer you the services you enjoy including mobile connectivity.”
However, the ICT Authority acting director programmes and standards says as Kenya moves to blended learning and hybrid classrooms stakeholders’ engagement and involvement is crucial.
“We thought it’s just buying a laptop or tablet and taking it to school. That’s wrong! Before you take a device to school you need electrical power, a teacher, content among other stakeholders meaning Ministry of Education, that of Energy, Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD), parents you need everybody including parents,” said Mr Odhiambo.
However, the big question still remains, if some public schools do not even have access to proper classrooms and most do not have laptops in the first place.