In Kenya there are currently over 14 million school children in the education system. In 2016, The Communications Authority of Kenya carried out an ICT Access Gaps Study, identifying a national gap in broadband access across the education sector.
Large numbers of school children and teachers were lacking in not only computer skills, but the ability to access vital learning materials and educational platforms that the internet can deliver. To begin addressing this issue, an Education Broadband Connectivity project was deemed to be a key enabler and essential in closing this access gap.
The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) collaborated with the Ministry of Education Science and Technology (MoEST) to provide broadband connectivity to all public secondary schools across Kenya. The Education Connectivity Broadband project aims to connect a total of 8,500 public secondary schools across the country over the next five years (2016-2020), giving young students the opportunity to access a digital education initiative.
CA utilised resources from the Universal Service Fund (USF) to install broadband services at an initial 900 public secondary schools spread across 47 counties. The CA administers and manages the fund that was created to support universal access to ICT services and promote innovation. USF projects were inspired by the government’s recognition of the potential of ICT skills in the realisation of the Government’s Big 4 Agenda Vision’s 2030 and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The criteria used to identify the schools included:
- Connection to the national power grid
- Secure computer laboratory with at least 10 modern, working computers
- ICT trained teachers and resource staff
- Each school has to be offering computer studies as an examinable subject at the Kenya Certificate of Education (KCSE) level
CommCarrier, based in Keyna, are a VNO telecommunications operator that provide a variety of satellite solutions to customers across the carrier, government and enterprise markets.
In 2016, The Communications Authority awarded CommCarrier the contract to deliver satellite broadband connectivity to 291 schools across Kenya through Avanti’s HYLAS 2 Ka-band satellite.
Thanks to CommCarrier’s high-speed broadband solution, powered by Avanti’s HYLAS 2 satellite which combines the latest Ka-band technology with a secure and resilient ground network, overriding success was measured at the end of the first phase. A total of 291 schools are now able to access high-speed internet of 5Mbps download and 1Mbps upload.
The project has rapidly increased broadband connectivity in all parts of the country, including rural areas where the beneficiary schools are located. It has improved educational outcomes of both teachers and students through digital learning by enabling access to online content.