Astana. KAZINFORM On September 16, the second GIGA Steering Committee meeting chaired by the Ministry of Digital Development, Innovations and Aerospace Industry of the Republic of Kazakhstan (MDDAIA) was held in the capital. The GIGA Steering Committee was established in 2021 as part of the Cooperation Agreement 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, according to UNICEF Kazakhstan’s official website.
After almost two years of work, the committee members have reviewed the results of the GIGA initiative. This work involved connecting 38 village schools in the Turkestan region to broadband internet, implementing the last-mile connectivity model and piloting a joint project with the Ministry of Education’s JSC Information-Analytic Center to monitor internet connection speeds in schools.
At the committee meeting, researchers presented the results of this UNICEF-supported large-scale study aimed at identifying technical and financial solutions to improve broadband internet access in Kazakh schools. This ongoing study analyzes the current status and effectiveness of Internet connections in schools across Kazakhstan, provides an economic and technical overview of the domestic telecommunications market, and recommends technical and financial solutions for connecting schools to the Internet.
“We are pleased that this project continues to bring concrete results. I was very happy to visit the schools last year that received the necessary internet access thanks to the GIGA project. Through our meeting today, we can outline future steps to scale up the initiative and ensure 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) made recommendations to ensure universal and adequate internet connectivity for schools by improving regulatory measures and public policies for digital development. As part of Connect2Recover’s global response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the ITU study recommendations aim to improve digital infrastructure and digital ecosystems.
Natalia Mochu, Regional Director of the ITU Regional Office for the CIS, observed: “Since the inaugural Steering Committee meeting, much analysis and research has been done to identify regulatory barriers and potential growth points. This enables the government to make informed, data-driven decisions on the further development of ICT infrastructure with the aim of closing the digital divide between urban and rural areas, strengthening the collection of statistical data and overall the national project “Technology leap through digitization, science and innovations”, the goals for the connection of schools to the Internet.»
Together with AIFC, UNICEF identified a possible technical solution for redistributing the internet connection to schools and organizations.
As a result of the meeting, the committee defined tasks for further implementation of the GIGA initiative, including identifying non-connected schools, examining the technical implementation and monitoring of internet connectivity in schools, and ensuring sustainable connectivity (target indicators – at least 20 Mbit/s) in school buildings, clarifying and expanding ICT infrastructure standards for schools and raising ICT competence levels 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 and Astana Hub International Technopark of IT Startups, Almaty Management University, the JSC Information-Analytic Center, Terabit Consulting Company and the Internet Society of Kyrgyzstan.
GIGA is a joint global initiative by UNICEF and ITU that aims to connect every school to broadband internet. Kazakhstan has joined this initiative to ensure that every child has a wide range of opportunities for quality education and subsequent career choices. One of the main goals of the initiative is to build the necessary infrastructure to ensure digital connections for the whole country and each child individually.
The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is a specialized agency of the UN dedicated to information and communication technology. The ITU’s global partners include 193 member states and nearly 900 companies, universities, international and regional organizations. To learn more, please visit www.itu.int
UNICEF is committed to ensuring the rights and well-being of every child. Together with its partners, UNICEF works in 190 countries and territories to translate this commitment into practical action, with a special effort to reach the most vulnerable and marginalized children for the benefit of all children everywhere. For more information about UNICEF’s work, visit www.unicef.org. Subscribe to our Instagram, Facebook and Twitter accounts.