Technology

Kenya Power to connect public schools with internet

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Kenya Power staff at work along Nyerere Avenue in Mombasa. FILE PHOTO | KEVIN ODIT | NMG

Summary

  • ICT Authority is rolling out a plan to connect all public schools with internet by using power lines.
  • The Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Authority is collaborating with Kenya Power, Ministry of Energy and Communication Authority (CA) in the plan aimed at boosting learning and teaching.
  • Kenya Power has so far connected over 22,000 schools with power.

ICT Authority is rolling out a plan to connect all public schools with internet by using Kenya Power transmission lines.

The Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Authority is collaborating with Kenya Power, Ministry of Energy and Communication Authority (CA) in the plan aimed at boosting learning and teaching.

Kenya Power has so far connected over 22,000 schools with power.

The authority will use the same infrastructure to stream fibre to all the public learning institutions.

“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,” said ICT Authority acting director programmes and standards, Thomas Odhiambo.

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 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.

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.