GIGA Steering Committee held its second meeting in Kazakhstan

Throughout 2022, the GIGA initiative conducted large-scale studies to update school connections to the internet

20 September 2022
Giga Steering Committee 2nd meeting
UNICEF Kazakhstan/2022/Zhanar Karimova

NUR-SULTAN, September 16, 2022 – Today, the second meeting of the GIGA Steering Committee took place in the capital, chaired by the Ministry of Digital Development, Innovations and Aerospace Industry of the Republic of Kazakhstan (MDDAIA). The GIGA Steering Committee was set up in 2021 under the Memorandum of Cooperation signed by MDDAIA, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). The Committee coordinates the global GIGA initiative on behalf of the Republic of Kazakhstan. 

The Committee members reviewed the results of the GIGA initiative following nearly two years of work. This work included connecting 38 village schools in the Turkestan region to broadband internet, implementing the last-mile connectivity model, and pilot testing a joint project with the JSC Information-Analytic Center of the Ministry of Education to monitor internet connection speeds in schools. 

At the committee meeting, researches presented the results of this UNICEF-supported large-scale study aimed at identifying technical and financial solutions to upgrade broadband internet access in Kazakhstani schools. This ongoing study analyzes the current status and effectiveness of internet connections in schools throughout Kazakhstan, provides an economic and technical overview of the domestic telecommunications market, and recommends technical and financial solutions to connect schools to the internet.

“We feel delighted to see this project continuing to yield concrete results. I was very pleased last year to visit the schools that received the necessary internet access thanks to the GIGA project. Through our meeting today, we can outline the future steps for expanding the initiative and ensuring its sustainability to overcome digital inequality in education”, - said Arthur van Diesen, UNICEF Representative in Kazakhstan.

The ITU Regional Office for the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) provided recommendations for ensuring a universal and adequate internet connection for schools by improving digital development regulatory measures and public policies. As part of Connect2Recover’s global response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the ITU study recommendations aim to enhance digital infrastructure and digital ecosystems. 

Natalia Mochu, Regional Director of the ITU Regional Office for the CIS, noted that “A lot of analytical and research work has been carried out since the opening meeting of the Steering Committee to identify regulatory barriers and potential growth points. This will allow the Government to make well-grounded, data-driven decisions for the further development of ICT infrastructure with the goal of eliminating the digital divide between urban and rural areas, strengthening the collection of statistical data and, overall, successfully implementing the national project – “Technological Leap due to Digitalisation, Science and Innovations” – which specifies targets for connecting schools to the internet.”

Jointly with AIFC, UNICEF identified a potential technical solution for redistributing internet connectivity to schools and organisations.

As a result of the meeting, the Committee set tasks to further execute the GIGA initiative, which included identifying unconnected schools, examining the technical implementation and monitoring of internet connectivity in schools, ensuring sustainable connectivity (target indicators – minimum 20 Mbit/s) in school buildings, clarifying and expanding ICT infrastructure standards for schools, and raising the level of ICT competencies in schools. 

The meeting brought together UNICEF, the ITU Regional Office for the CIS, MDDIAI, the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan, AIFC, the Akimat of the Turkestan region, Astana Hub International Technopark of IT Startups, Almaty Management University, the JSC Information-Analytic Center, Terabit Consulting Company, and the Internet Society Kyrgyzstan. 

Media contacts

Elvira Yausheva
Communication Specialist
UNICEF
Tel: +7 778 021 19 12

GIGA

GIGA is a joint global initiative between UNICEF and ITU aimed at connecting every school to broadband internet. Kazakhstan has joined this initiative to ensure every child is provided with a wide range of opportunities for quality education and subsequent selection of a profession. One of the initiative’s main objectives is to build the necessary infrastructure to ensure digital connections for the whole country and every child individually.

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