Kenya Education Network Trust (KENET) published tender to procure a network operation centre

Computing

The Education ministry is gearing up for a series of ICT investments aimed at strengthening ties between institutions. The latest segment of a digitisation programme within the sector has started with hopes that it will aid in faster dissemination of educational programmes countrywide, help ease teacher shortages, and enhance opportunities for harmonisation of education programmes.

An advertisement in the local press yesterday indicated the Kenya Education Network Trust (KENET) was seeking to procure a network operation centre and related software to connect over 70 educational institutions in the country. "Connectivity has become very critical for institutions as they adopt online processing systems. The data centre will provide a centralised location where institutions can have their off-site backups and redundant systems situated," said the advertisement.

The project is being funded by the Government, which in 2007 received financing from the World Bank for the Kenya Transparency and Communications Infrastructure Project (KTCIP), a comprehensive undertaking that seeks to employ technology in order to increase transparency and connectivity between government arms.

"We hope to use ICT to ease teaching challenges where teacher shortages remain a problem. The ministry is exploring various intervention measures that will create the necessary conditions to access education more easily," said Education minister Sam Ongeri.

KTCIP is being executed by the Kenya ICT Board under the Ministry of Information and Communications. In the last quarter, the ICT Board has awarded five high value contracts aimed at digitising various arms of government under KTCIP.

Among them are the pre-digitisation support contract for the Judiciary, which was handed to the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology Enterprises (JKUATES) to cost Sh5.5 million, as well as a tender for the Supply of Bandwidth to the e-government network awarded to Telkom Kenya to cost Sh90 million.

The Ministry of Information and Communication has benefited from three projects, a job entailing the installation and commissioning of a local area network at the Ministry of Information and Communication's Kenya News Agency handed to Forecast Electronic Systems to cost Sh12 million; supply of hardware to the same department to MIBM at Sh19 million and a Sh53 million ($716,000) contract handed by the same department to Kenya Data Networks.

Upcoming projects include the supply, installation and commisioning of software and hardware, document scanning and digitisation services at the High Court registries, and the supply and installation of equipment, data capture and digitising of files at the Company Registry -- which form part of the ongoing reforms within the legal system.

The latest project targets KENET, which is a national research and education network that promotes the use of ICT in teaching, learning and research in higher education institutions in Kenya.

KENET aims to interconnect all the universities and tertiary and research institutions by setting up a cost effective and sustainable private network with high speed access to the global Internet.

The development follows announcement of the expansion of a similar programme at the African Virtual University (AVU), which is leveraging a $7.5 million grant from the African Development Bank (AfDB) to launch new open distance and e-learning centres (ODeL) in 10 African countries over the next five months.

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