, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 11 – The Nairobi County Government has partnered with Internet Service Provider Wananchi Group to provide free Internet to schools in the city.
The pilot programme which begins immediately will cost the ISP Sh125 million to connect 240 schools to the World Wide Web.
Nairobi County Executive in Charge of Education Christopher Khaemba said on Tuesday that the initiative was expected to encourage e-learning in schools in line with the free laptops programme by the national government.
“Because the majority of school-going children are in the slums, this will also help us to structure those informal schools so that they are properly registered; they are subject to quality assurance inspections and so on. So this partnership with Wananchi is going to impact us in so many ways,” he said.
He underscored the importance of the project saying that it will open up opportunities for children especially in slum areas.
He however stressed the importance of teachers to take full advantage of the programme.
“For the schools, there is need to inculcate values in students. There needs to be particular focus on empowering teachers so that they can teach the children to make good decisions so they may be able to use the internet in a safe way,” he said.
He further indicated that the County Government will be embarking on a major project seeking to develop infrastructure in all public schools within Nairobi.
“We are embarking on a massive infrastructural development and we are inviting partners to bring in their resources so that they may benefit children from Nairobi and by extension the whole country,” he stated.
Wananchi non-executive board member Richard Bell indicated that the Internet programme is set to be expanded to benefit about 2,000 schools in the County once the pilot phase is completed.
“After we have connected those schools, then we will gather some data and then do a full rollout of the project where we will end up connecting in excess of 2,000 schools throughout Nairobi. Although the County Schools will take preference as we are rolling out, the intention is to connect all schools including private schools,” he said.
“This is a massive increase to the schools connected to the Internet. Our role is to provide the fibre from the schools. This is global best practice; it is done like this all over the world. We are glad that Nairobi will be the first County to benefit from such a program.”