Kyrgyzstan has provided basic broadband to almost all schools. The Ministry of Education and Science (MoES) has now committed to bringing broadband access to 692 of the 702 underserved schools by the end of 2020, including 11 mountainous schools currently not connected at all.
Number of connected & underserved schools: Project Connect Mapping data, 2020
The Government of Kyrgyzstan has initiatives in place to improve the quality and cost of connectivity in schools
Reducing the Costs of Service Provision
Kyrgyzstan has already benefited significantly from Giga support. Giga worked alongside the Prime Minister’s Office to negotiate ongoing service fees for school connection with service providers. Through this process, prices were almost halved (from $50/month to $28.5/month) and speeds practically doubled (from 2Mbps to 4Mbps). As a result, the Government has saved 40% of its annual education connectivity budget.
Investing in High Quality Connectivity
The Government has spent $3.5m since 2016, connecting 99.4% of its schools to optic fiber or WiMax, increasing speeds, and lowering the cost of service. In September 2020, the Government announced expanding fibre networks to 671 schools bringing them under the national connectivity program. In addition, 11 of the 31 currently unconnected schools in mountainous regions will be covered under this program.
Scaling up Access to Local Content
As a result of COVID-19, the Government has invested in strengthening its existing free e-learning website Sanarip Sabak. Ensuring content is in the appropriate language is key, with Kyrgyz, Russian, and Uzbek content required. Among other players, KG Labs is working to build the tech ecosystem; and launched Startup Kyrgyzstan accelerator with the Government to support local Digital Public Good (DPG) creation.
In partnership with Giga, the Government of Kyrgyzstan aims to continue its efforts to connect the remaining 20 mountainous schools and develop sustainable models for ongoing service fees. Some of Giga’s priority areas for collaboration in Kyrgyzstan include:
Supporting development of sustainable financing models for ongoing fees and concessional financing opportunities for connecting the remaining 20 mountainous schools
Continue to assist the Government to efficiently structure procurement of internet services from private providers to improve pricing and quality of service based on mapping data
Adapting DPG resources to the Kyrgyz context, including integrated services around health and finance
From schools to communities
Schools are often the centre of communities. Giga hopes to explore sustainable models to use the school as a hub to connect people in the local community. Community connectivity will support the Kyrgyz Government aims to grow the digital economy and digital public services and reach Government targets of universal broadband usage by 2023