MACRA launches construction of 75 ICT laboratory centres

Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) through Connect a School Project launched construction of 75 Information Communication Technologies (ICT) laboratory centres in Community Day Secondary Schools (CDSS) across the country.

This Connect a School Project is under the Universal Service Fund, a digital inclusion arm of MACRA as the project seeks to build CDSS’s capacity as community ICT centres, targets over 40,000 students and 250,000 community members access the centres.

Speaking during the official ground-breaking ceremony of the construction of the centres at Nkope CDSS in Mangochi on Tuesday, Head of the Universal Service Fund at MACRA, Ronald Tembo said that Connect a School Project is a flagship project for MACRA in line with National Digitalization Policy.

 ‘‘In this project, we have taken a different model where we are working with the community, particularly the artisans who are trained by TEVETA and these are people who will be under management of National Construction Industry Council.’’

MACRA launches Connect a School Project which will see construction of ICT centers in CDSSs. Pic, Bishop Witmos (Mana)

‘‘For us to make access for internet to all, we need a very good internet capacity in the country.  MACRA is working on a diplomatic data corridor to introduce Yathu Yathu data which aims to cover all the rural areas with affordable and reliable internet,” he added.

Tembo disclosed that MACRA was installing technology towers to be spreading both mobile network and broadcasting signals in the unserved communities. 

He added that apart from constructing ICT laboratories in schools, MACRA intends to construct a total of 9,000 ICT laboratories in most public institutions, a project which would cost the communication regulatory authority over K 7. billion.

Director of Science, Technology and Innovation in the Ministry of Education, Prof. Chomora Mikeka said that Connect a School Project would help to build a human capital that would meet the demanded digital labour market.

He said the project was ideal in the digital transformation as it would help to transform the country’s economy.

‘‘This is a very critical project, as Malawians have demanded that we put each and every school an ICT lab in order to facilitate education digitalization, but also digital transformation in the country. This is bringing connectivity to schools and this is the way to go towards the Agenda 2063,’’ Mikeka said.

Out 6,954 Primary Schools in the country only 140 schools are connected to internet, while out of 1,774 Secondary Schools, a handful are connected to the internet, according to the Director.  

Sub-Traditional Authority (STA) Chiwalo commended government for considering Nkope CDSS as one of the learning institutions to benefit from the project.

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