Internet service provider (ISP) Wananchi Group, the Kenya Education Network (KENET) and the County Government of Nairobi have signed an agreement for a project named WazED, which will provide an estimated 2,715 schools within Nairobi county with free internet.
According to Wananchi, the move is aimed at boosting internet penetration for schools as envisioned in the National Broadband Strategy.
In addition to the free Internet, Wananchi will also be providing each school with a digital set-top box for connection to a television for use in delivery of audio content to students.
Pre-primary kindergartens will be equipped with a digital set-top box and a small television.
The KSh170 million (US$2 million) project will be leveraged on Wananchi’s fibre infrastructure and will be initially piloted for 15 months in 245 schools, with the first three months allocated for rolling out the fibre network and the next 12 months for evaluation of the progress of the project.
While launching the initiative at Moi Girls School Nairobi, Nairobi county minister of education Christopher Khaemba said the initiative showed Nairobi county is keen on promoting emerging trends by implementing e-learning programmes through partnerships with the private sector to invest in telecommunication infrastructure.
“By deploying the free internet programme in schools we believe that we are modernising Kenya’s classrooms and teaching students new technologies,” he said.
Wananchi Group non-executive chairman Richard Bell said: “Kenya is the fastest growing ICT hub in the region. We want to fasten the pace and the use of ICT in education is at a particularly dynamic stage in Kenya. I strongly believe this project will go a long way towards opening up education opportunities to students as they tap into ICT to advance their skills starting from an early age.”
The Kenyan government’s National Broadband Strategy aims to facilitate realisation of Vision 2030 and create a “digital Kenya”, and is seen as a catalyst for the creation of a knowledge-based economy in Kenya while also articulating the national ICT agenda.
Digital literacy is currently being promoted in Kenya, with projects including the creation of ICT incubation centres in public universities, the laptops for schools project, and the current initiatives to digitise both the primary and secondary curriculum.