ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru has encouraged private sector to partner with government in deepening Internet penetration, laying ground for the government’s Sh17 billion Digital Literacy Programme.
Speaking in Machakos during the launch of Airtel’s Internet for School Programme, the Cs said that Public Private Partnerships have the clout to hasten digitisation of the marginal areas in Kenya.
“It is our wish to continue seeking for partnerships with the private sector for ICT infrastructure development and for content dissemination. We want to tap into commercial opportunities these partnerships have for digitising the community,” Mr Mucheru said.
The call comes at a time when government’s Digital Literacy Programme is nearing official launch. The government is seeking content developers whose material will be vetted by the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) before being shared on a universal cloud platform for use in schools.
Airtel’s programme has helped serve government’s call by connecting schools to Internet ahead of the distribution of laptops to schools countrywide.
Besides the partnership Airtel has with organisations such as British Council and Leap Hub in deepening Internet penetration across the country, last year, it partnered with Facebook to deepen its ‘Free Basics’ service.
The telecom connected 23 schools in Machakos County to the Internet. Already, 167 institutions have benefited from the programme. By the end of the year, Airtel targets to reach 1 million students in all 47 counties.
“The high speed Internet connectivity that we continue to provide through our Airtel Free Internet for Schools program guarantees students limitless new educational opportunities,” said Airtel CEO Adil EL Youssefi, “We strongly believe that through our program, we are giving learners the freedom to connect to the world of information, helping them to learn better and open up a new world of opportunities for their future.”