Huawei Kenya is taking a significant step towards fostering inclusive education by extending internet connectivity to schools catering to children with special needs. The initiative, known as the Digischool program, aims to bridge the digital divide and empower students with special needs through improved connectivity. In the second phase of the program, Huawei will connect six special needs schools to the national fiber optic cable, marking a crucial milestone in enhancing access to educational resources for students in these institutions.
Huawei Kenya’s CEO, Steven Zhang, highlighted the purpose behind the Digischool program, emphasizing its impact on the learning journey of students across Kenyan schools. Zhang underscored the importance of equipping students with the necessary digital skills, as well as improving the overall administrative processes within educational institutions.
“For over two decades, Huawei has played a pivotal role in building networks and connecting homes, offices, and mobile devices across the country. Ensuring that schools are not left behind in the digital transformation journey is crucial for preparing learners for future careers in a digital economy,” stated Zhang.
The first phase of the Digischool program witnessed the successful connection of 13 schools to the National Fiber Optic Cable, showcasing tangible benefits in terms of cost savings and improved learning experiences. Building on this success, the second phase focuses on expanding connectivity to special needs schools, thereby promoting educational quality, accessibility, and equity.
Huawei’s collaboration with schools extends beyond mere connectivity. The company aims to provide training in digital skills and responsible internet use for teachers, administrators, students, and parents. Additionally, guidelines will be established within schools to regulate the usage of internet and technology devices. The connectivity will be facilitated through the National Optic Fiber Backbone Infrastructure (NOFBI), known for its affordability and reliability.
Steven Zhang pointed out, “In the first phase, we observed that schools achieved cost savings of at least Kshs 120,000 per term by being connected to the national fiber optic cable.” This tangible financial benefit underscores the potential impact of enhanced connectivity on the overall education ecosystem.
Dr. Belio Kipsang, the Principal Secretary for Basic Education, lauded Huawei’s efforts and aligned them with the government’s vision of extending internet connectivity to all schools as part of the Digital Masterplan and the Digital Superhighway Pillar of the Bottom-Up Economic Transformation Agenda Plan. He emphasized the transformative power of the internet in expanding educational access and equity, especially for rural areas and marginalized groups.
The Digischool program’s initial phase demonstrated that internet connectivity positively influences education quality, learning environments, and student attitudes. It also facilitated the use of diverse online platforms and tools among teachers and students. The program has sparked unplanned benefits, such as inter-school collaboration and student participation in international competitions. School administrators have also reaped rewards, enhancing communication with parents and local communities through online access points.
Huawei’s commitment to improving education through technology is encapsulated in the Digischool program, fostering an inclusive learning environment and driving positive educational outcomes for all students, regardless of their unique needs.