School Connectivity in the Kyrgyz Republic
For the first time, the Government of Kyrgyzstan, with the help of UNICEF, has obtained real-time mapping of all 2137 public schools with their connectivity to the internet.
Many of us use the Internet in our everyday lives – at school, at work, with our friends. This is changing the way society operates and the way we interact with each other. Innovative technologies are bringing in new opportunities that didn’t exist a few years ago – from digital textbooks to personalized learning games. School connectivity is essential for classrooms and teachers to adapt to these societal changes.
To ensure this digital change takes into account children’s equitable access to information and learning opportunities, UNICEF Office of Innovation, UNICEF Kyrgyzstan and the Ministry of Education and Science of the Kyrgyz Republic collaborated on the “School connectivity map” project. The project is part of UNICEF’s Project Connect and Magic Box platforms and its goal is to enable major government institutions to put in place tools and data systems that can identify (more accurately) school locations and their access to information - starting with school connectivity.
According to the Ministry of Education, there are 2137 public schools in Kyrgyzstan; 1446 of them have connectivity to the Internet, and 691 have no Internet connectivity. The real-time mapping of all schools helped the government identify unconnected schools and increase Internet connectivity up to 84 percent of schools. While 307 schools are in the pipeline to be connected by the National KyrgyzTelecom company, 35 schools were accessed as the most difficult to connect with fiber Internet connection due to their geographic location.
The “School Connectivity map” is available online and includes all schools in the country – it means that users can access information about the location of schools, number of schools, and their Internet
connectivity. The project significantly improves the openness and readiness of public administration to solve pressing issues in the field of education. The visual tool helps users locate all public schools in the country, see basic information about the number of students, determine if the schools are placed in rural or urban areas, and identify the actual Internet connectivity of schools.
The map will be used further to see progress and to help technical teams (and other observers) to watch the number of connected schools in real-time. Having all schools connected to the Internet will help children gain equal access to education through online courses and modules. Additionally, the Ministry of Education will be able to monitor children at risk of dropping out and ensure the quality of education through student-level modules. The analysis from this tool is expected to help mobilize partners and resources to work together in reducing the digital divide in education. The "School connectivity map” promotes transparency in the education system and helps improve the modern digital platform of the Kyrgyz Republic.
The School Connectivity Map was developed with seed funding from the UNICEF Innovation Fund. It is a pooled funding vehicle to quickly assess, fund and grow early stage open-source emerging technology solutions that have been developed in new and emerging markets. Many UNICEF country offices have received support from the Fund to develop solutions and technology that impact the lives of the most vulnerable children. www.unicefinnovationfund.org