UNESCO, Huawei and Government of Kenya launch DigiSchool pilot project on school connectivity
Within the framework of the Global Education Coalition (GEC), UNESCO and Huawei, in collaboration with the Government of Kenya through the Ministries of Education; ICT, innovation and youth; and the ICT Authority, provided free internet connection to 13 schools in Kenya. The pilot project was launched on December 17, 2021 at Maragima Primary School, Nyeri County, one of the 13 beneficiary schools. The launch was chaired by Mr. Joe Mucheru, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of ICT, Innovation and Youth; UNESCO Regional Director, Professor Hubert Gijzen; CEO of Huawei Kenya, Mr. Will Meng; President of the ICT Authority Prof. Fredrick Owino; Interim CEO, ICT Authority, Dr Kipronoh Ronoh; Ms. Sabina Aron, Departmental Director of Education; and Nyeri County Commissioner, Mr. Lyford Kibaara, among other key players.
During the launch ceremony, the Internet connection was tested by setting up a virtual meeting which allowed participants from the 13 connected schools to interact virtually.
In his remarks, the Cabinet Secretary highlighted the government’s efforts over the past decade to demonstrate its commitment to improving the quality of education through the use of technology by connecting the majority of schools with current and distributing over 1.1 million digital devices to teachers and students. In addition, he applauded the ongoing partnership of UNESCO and Huawei to help GoK connect schools with the aim of improving equity, access and quality of learning with the ambition of Leave No One Behind (LNOB).
UNESCO Regional Director for East Africa Professor Hubert Gijzen congratulated Huawei and the government for supporting the school connectivity initiative under the Global Education Coalition – a broad partnership which now has some 200 members – to accelerate the deployment of distance learning solutions to ensure the continuity of education in times of lockdown linked to COVID-19 and beyond. Huawei Kenya CEO Mr. Will Meng said wireless microwave and fiber technologies could be used to bring super-fast broadband to schools, especially in rural areas. “By providing high-speed Wi-Fi throughout the school, we can make a difference in education and, therefore, in the future of the country.,” he stated.
The initiative builds on existing Kenyan government investments in educational devices and content, using the National Backbone Fiber Optic Infrastructure (NOFBI), which spans most of the country’s counties.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).