Nokia has announced that it has been working with Safaricom - a Kenyan mobile operator -, UNICEF, and the Kenyan Ministries of Education and ICT to help connect 90 schools in Kenya to the internet. The connected schools serve around 32,670 students in total.
The expansion of the internet to rural and deprived areas in Kenya is part of an initiative called ‘connect the unconnected’. It’s a plan from the Kenyan government which hopes to scale broadband connections to all schools by 2030. Nokia says it used its FastMile 4G Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) broadband solution to ensure reliable and high-speed connectivity over Safaricom’s 4G/LTE network. Nokia’s mesh WiFi Beacon technology is then used to further boost the signal in classrooms and computer labs.
COVID-19 has revealed digital divides around the world, including those in Kenya. Commenting on the project to connect rural and underserved areas, UNICEF Kenya Country Representative Maniza Zaman, said:
'Children have a right to access quality education wherever they are, yet for too long, the digital divide has prevented disadvantaged children from enjoying the same benefits as their connected peers. By connecting schools to the Internet – with a focus on the most disadvantaged areas – we can start to level the playing field. This allows students and teachers to gain digital skills and access the latest education materials, providing a brighter future for some of the most vulnerable children in Kenya.'
Now that the schools are connected, educators will be able to make better use of video communications, digital curricula, and online content. With access to computers and the internet, the children will be better set to learn digital skills which are becoming more and more necessary in workforces globally.