The government is finalising an ambitious power project whose aim is to connect electricity to all primary schools in the country by April this year ahead of the implementation of the free laptops programme.
Announcing this development, the Rural Electrification Authority (REA), which is spearheading the task, said the plan is in line with Vision 2030, whose overall aim is to afford all citizens quality life by the year 2030.
So far over 17,000 public schools have been electrified out of the 21,158 that were mapped out by the Authority, and connection for 3,880 others is under way. Energy Cabinet Secretary Davis Chirchir said powering schools is important for expanding digital skills and services as enshrined in the government’s development agenda.
‘It is our expectation that the electrification and subsequent integration of ICT in curriculum delivery in our schools will enable Kenya to produce high quality individuals able to compete in the already high-tech market”, he said in a statement.
Established in 2006, REA is mandated to facilitate supply of electricity in the country’s rural areas from the low connectivity level of 4 percent at the time it was created and stimulate wealth creation, economic recovery and create more employment opportunities.
The authority lived up to its role, lighting up about 74 per cent of the public facilities by June 2013 – among them schools, trading centres, health and water supply centres, which were identified and prioritised in the scheme.
Plans are under way to increase access to power in more areas in the country. “After the electrification of primary schools, REA will focus on the remaining un-electrified public facilities as well as domestic households within the vicinity of such facilities under the ‘last mile connectivity’ project”, said Energy Principal Secretary Joseph Njoroge, adding that the projects will be implemented in the 2015/16 and 2016/17 financial years.
‘Eventually, it is the objective of the government to ensure that all Kenyans have electricity by the year 2020’, the PS said in a statement.
On his part, REA Chairman Dr Simon Gicharu said the authority had established mechanisms to ensure the project is implemented on schedule.