About KENET Schools Connectivity Initiative
The KENET Schools Connectivity Initiative (SCI) aims to coordinate the different commercial, educational and government organizations that are interested and willing to promote the use of ICT in Kenyan schools for teaching, learning and administration (SCI Concept Note).
The general objective of the initiative is to improve the quality of education by transforming teaching, learning and administration of schools in Kenya. It will support and empower teachers by directing them to supplemental material and open educational resources to support their teaching, and in the process, enhance their pedagogical skills. Coupled with KENET’s educational portal, the project will help in providing secure and safe content for the teachers and the students.
The aims of SCI fall within the mission of KENET as a catalyst in the transformation of education using ICT. Since it was constituted in 1999, KENET has focused on the promotion of ICT usage in higher education institutions. As of September 30, 2015, KENET had connected 190 campuses of universities and higher education institutions in different parts of the countries (see KENET coverage map at http://www.kenet.or.ke). KENET intends to coordinate the efforts of various public and private entities towards provision of internet connectivity to schools using a scalable and sustainable model.
ICTs and Internet access has the potential to enhance the quality of education at all levels and to increase access to education. The benefits of ICT and broadband in education have been well articulated in the report by the UN broadband commission working group on education (http://www.broadbandcommission.org/publications/Pages/bb-and-education.aspx). The challenge has always been the cost of equipping educational institutions with ICT and providing affordable Internet access, particularly for the large number of schools in a country. For example, Kenya had a total 8,747 secondary schools and 29,460 primary schools in 2014 according Economic Survey 2015 (http://www.knbs.or.ke/index.php?option=com_phocadownload&view=category&i..., Pg. 40). The secondary schools had a total enrolment of 2.3 million students in the year 2014. The cost of providing Internet access to all secondary schools would therefore be very high. The SCI intends to create a platform through which public and private sectors can partners in an effort to provide scalable and sustainability ICT and Internet access to schools.
The public or private sectors can participate in the SCI by providing any of the following requirements for ICT access in schools:
Affordable last mile connectivity services to schools. Partners in this category include commercial fiber and mobile network operators.
Setup of backbone schools networks and WiFi hotspots
Setup networked computer labs and provide the computers and tablets for use by students and teachers for teaching and learning
Cloud-based school management software or ERP services for use in school administration. This would enhance the efficiency of schools
Cloud-based e-learning systems and content to transform teaching and learning in schools.
Capacity building services for teachers in the areas of teaching with technology and e-learning content development.
In March 2015, KENET signed a partnership agreement with the Wananchi Group Kenya (WGK)
Limited and the Nairobi County Government to setup and operate a Nairobi schools network that would provide Internet access to 240 pilot schools in the first year between July 2015 and June 2016. This was a WGK CSR for one year with the understanding that the connected schools would sustain the connectivity after the first year. As of December 2015, the project had connected over 140 schools to the KENET network with access to 600Mb/s International Internet link for the schools.
A part from the schools connected by WGL, KENET has also connected five secondary schools in various parts of the country. Several universities have also pledged to provide last mile internet connectivity to schools in their neighbourhoods as part of their corporate social responsibility (CSR).