The Kenya Government is stepping up its drive to ensure more Kenyans are connected to the internet as part of a broader policy to deliver better public services.
Consequently, the ICT Authority and State Department for Training and Skills Development are working with the private sector and other agencies to ensure last mile internet connectivity from the government’s Fibre optic infrastructure runs across the country.
Speaking during the inclusion of Bosto Primary School in Bomet to the National Schoolnet Programme, State Department for Training and Skills Development PS, Alfred Cheruiyot, explained that towards this end, the government will have connected 8,000 schools to the Internet by the end of 2022 and that all special needs institutions will be accorded the first priority.
“For us to achieve this ambitious target, we are working with ICT Authority and Huawei to deploy appropriate technologies for schools depending on their locations and technology presence,” he said.
Cheruiyot said the achievement includes laying an additional 100,000 Km of Fibre optic cable countrywide and setting up more microwave and satellite points, adding that last mile internet connectivity to schools within a radius of 10 kilometres of the national Fibre optic cable will be delivered using additional masts, while those within 1 kilometre will be connected directly through a new cable to the institution.
The PS was accompanied by the acting ICT Authority CEO, Dr Kipronoh Ronoh, the Acting Chief Executive Officer at the ICT Authority, and a Director at the same organization, Dr Jerotich Sirma.
According to Dr Ronoh, the government’s plan to bridge the national digital divide remains on course and the Schoolnet Program and the Kenya Education Cloud are key planks in ensuring learners across the country access quality education content consistently.
“The successful rollout of the Schoolnet program shows that the government will then be able to connect all the 18,000 government offices, 13,000 health facilities, 400 police stations, and 54 Huduma Centres to high-speed internet capacity. Additionally, over 5 billion government manual records will be digitised and all critical government systems automated and integrated to enhance service delivery,” Ronoh added.
He urged the community to embrace technology as a new way to tap into their talents and investments so as to spur economic growth.
The Ag. CEO noted that in order to ensure stability of the internet services, the ICT Authority had the support of the security agencies to protect their infrastructure and asked the members of the public to report any cases of vandalism.
Echoing the same remarks, Dr Sirma said Bosto primary school illustrates the model that the government is pursuing in partnership with Huawei to set up wireless microwave radio link masts in or close to the school compounds, then connect these to the National Optical Fibre Backbone Infrastructure (NOFBI).
“Broadly, in order to bridge the digital divide, the government aims to train 20 million citizens in the country on digital skills and roll out broadband connectivity to the rural areas under the rural digitization programme. Plans are also underway to digitise rural areas and connect over 10 million homes and 24,000 businesses upcountry to the internet,” she said.
The ICT Authority, noted Dr Sirma, will forge more partnerships with the private sector to deepen sectoral interventions that leverage technology such as Huawei’s Tech4All program, designed to improve the quality of education, change the lives of the learners and give them the chance for a better future.
By Catherine Muindi