The Laptop Project: School Net Programme


The growth of the Internet in the world provides many opportunities to many people around the world in many different ways. When students are considered, the use of the Internet is mainly for academic and scientific information. Additionally, the Internet can be used as a tool to access learning materials all around the world and the source of spreading information quickly to a large audience and of going beyond the limitation of time and space. In the light of the above information, it is vitally important to encourage students to use this invaluable source to get any kind of information they need in their academic studies. Online learning opportunities and the use of open educational resources and other technologies can increase educational productivity by accelerating the rate of learning; reducing costs associated with instructional materials or program delivery; and better utilizing teacher time

Research has shown that [by the Pew Internet & American Life Project] that teenagers use the Internet as an essential study aid outside the classroom and that the Internet increasingly has a place inside the classroom.

Digital content, which is one of the key components of DLP, requires utilization of internet technologies for its success. With over 24,000 primary schools scattered across the country with frequent requests for content updates, it is logistically difficult for the Ministry of Education to effectively deliver and update the contents in all the devices regularly.

There is a need for the government to consider and connect all schools to broadband connectivity to enable them access to updated learning materials as well as for administrative purposes. The same facility could be used to provide wireless internet services to rural areas as a means to bridging the digital divide and enhance inclusivity.

   Project purpose (click to read more)

The purpose of this projects is to enhance success of the digital literacy programme through effectively delivery and update of content materials for all learners across the country. It also ensures full inclusivity in terms of internet connectivity to underserve areas

   Project scope (click to read more)

The project will cover all public and private schools in Kenya totaling to over 43,000 schools.

   Project Deliverables (click to read more)

The Project deliverables involve connectivity of schools through use of available networking technologies among them, fiber optic and wireless networks. The bandwidth connectivity to schools is minimum of 10MB to enable effective download of content. A sustainable maintenance plan with equipped network operational center [NOC] is required to support the infrastructure. The Kenya Education Cloud server will be installed in each county to enable faster access to approved educational content by learners.

   School Net Design Model (click to read more)

School Net refers to broadband connectivity programme to all schools to enable them connect to internet facility for purpose of accessing learning materials from Kenya educational cloud and other relevant sites.

The design principles for school Net considers;

  1. Accessibility and reliability
  2. Security of the network
  3. Fast track and operationalized Kenya Education Cloud.
  4. Affordability
  5. Redundancy
  6. Management and Support and management
  7. Scalability

   General Specifications (click to read more)

The School Net will be implemented in four levels namely;

  1. Connecting nearby schools to the current NOFBI projects who are not more than 3km from the current NOFBI network,
  2. Connecting schools within a radius of 40 kilometers through a wireless radio links from CCP or NOFBI sites,
  3. Liaising with private sector partners to connect remote schools which are far from the NOFBI network but near the service providers sites or cable network.
  4. All schools to have a minimum of 10MBPS to enable effective download and access to learning materials.

There will Network Operating Center (NOC) at national level and mirrored at the county level and will be operational 24/7. The County NOC will be integrated with government NOCs of the NOFBI projects based at ICT Authority. The NOCs will be fully equipped with the necessary facilities as well as competent human capital to enable effective support of the project at the school level. The NOC will also have 24hours call center for urgent trouble shooting and technical support.

   Implementation Approach (click to read more)

Considering the size of the project and its complexity there is need to subdivide the project into three main lots based on the geographical regions and number of schools to be covered. The lotting will be as per the lots of DLP projects namely; Coast, Western and Eastern Regions. The design models will remain similar for all the three lots same to approach and deployment.

   Designs/Specifications (click to read more)

The high-level design concept will be:

  1. Connection by standard OFC G652 4 Core Access optic fiber cable to any school within 1km on both sides of the NOFBI OFC network.
  2. Radio microwave unlicensed wireless solution capable to transmit at least not less than 10mbps for a distance not less than 60km of line of sight.
  3. Installation of transmitters of 1GB to each serve 100 schools.
  4. Installation of receivers and access points in each school.
  5. Installation of KICD cloud servers in each county.
  6. Utilization of other technologies such as VSAT among others to serve schools which cannot be reached by fibre and other technologies.

At the school, the designated premises for connectivity will also have a simplified solution of a switch and Access point (AP) as per detailed survey. Both the switch and the access point will be monitored by the NOC and all users registered for monitoring and security control. Each county will have a NOC for School Net to provide support.