Huawei Connects Special Schools to the World

Huawei Kenya is intensifying efforts to expand internet access for learners, focusing on extending connectivity to children with special needs. In the second phase of the Digischool program, which aims to encompass a total of 16 primary and secondary schools, initially, 6 special needs schools will be integrated into the national fiber optic cable network.

Deputy CEO of Huawei Kenya, Steven Zhang, emphasized that the Digischool initiative is strategically designed to elevate the learning experience for students across Kenyan schools. The program also seeks to enhance the overall administrative processes within these educational institutions.

Zhang highlighted Huawei’s extensive experience of 25 years in constructing networks and linking mobile devices, residences, and governmental establishments throughout the nation. He stressed the significance of ensuring that schools are not left behind, underlining the importance of connectivity to prepare students for future careers in the digital economy. He noted that being connected and cultivating pertinent digital skills are essential for this preparation.

The completion of the first phase of the Digischool program witnessed the connection of 13 schools to the National Fiber Optic Cable. The subsequent phases of the program will prioritize and expand connectivity across schools, thus advancing the quality, accessibility, and fairness of education. Additionally, training in digital skills and responsible internet usage will be extended to educators, school administrators, students, and, when applicable, parents.

Furthermore, plans include the establishment of regulations within schools to govern internet and technology device usage. Connectivity via the National Optic Fiber Backbone Infrastructure [NOFBI] will persist due to its affordability and reliability.

Collaborative efforts between partners are set to intensify, with a focus on providing sustainable and cost-effective internet connectivity to all schools. Community Internet hubs will be established to facilitate online access for the neighboring communities of these schools.

Zhang shared insights from the initial phase of Digischool, citing cost savings of at least Kshs 120,000 per term on internet bundles for schools connected to the national fiber optic cable.

Dr. Belio Kipsang, Principal Secretary for Basic Education, echoed the sentiment of expanding internet connectivity to all schools in alignment with the Digital Masterplan and the Digital Superhighway Pillar of the Bottom-Up Economic Transformation Agenda Plan. He emphasized that internet access enhances educational equity, especially for students in rural areas, including girls and those with disabilities. He expressed gratitude to Huawei and UNESCO for collaborating with the government on providing sustainable internet connectivity.

The impact of the Digischool program’s initial phase was substantial, demonstrating that internet access not only elevates education quality but also fosters positive attitudes among learners and educators. It revealed the use of diverse online platforms and tools, particularly YouTube and interactive quizzes, in the teaching process.

Beyond its primary objectives, the Digischool initiative has spawned unforeseen benefits, including inter-school support and access to international competitions for students. Moreover, school administrators have gained significant advantages through online connectivity, particularly in communication with parents and the local community. Internet access points within these schools are beneficial for parents and community members alike.

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