Sierra Leone continues to invest in a national fiber network that primarily supports a growing user base through mobile-based service provision. While 80% of schools are within 3G coverage, only 205 schools are connected.
Number of connected & unconnected schools: Project Connect Mapping, 2020
Schools present an opportunity to expand the reach of initial investment to reach unconnected communities, and create economic growth.
Government agency collaboration and a strong focus on Digital Public Goods (DPGs) are part of Sierra Leone’s strategy for digital transformation
Strong Collaboration across Government Agencies
The Ministry of Basic and Secondary School Education (MBSSE) and the Directorate of Science, Technology and Innovation (DSTI) work in close collaboration to ensure schools and learners are equipped with connectivity and devices to support digital learning. This collaboration is enabled by both agencies being under the leadership of Dr David Sengeh.
Empowering Learners with Digital Skills
The MBSSE National Curriculum Framework & Guidelines aim to promote problem-solving, and includes technology and ICT literacy in basic education. The curriculum focuses on empowering learners with foundational competencies and ICT skills that are applicable in the workplace.
Commitment to Developing DPGs
The Government of Sierra Leone is one of the founding members of the Digital Public Goods Alliance.
Additionally, DPGs are being nurtured through DSTI projects including an education data hub, financial data mapping and the exploration of a payment system OpenG2P, and using big data for the COVID-19 response, among others.
By working with Giga, Sierra Leone can accelerate school connectivity and leverage its position as a founding member of the Digital Public Goods Alliance. Some of Giga’s priority areas for collaboration in Sierra Leone include:
Augmenting Project Connect mapping to differentiate between connectivity and coverage to refine the school investment strategy.
Working with Sierra Leone Cable Limited (SALCAB) to pilot Project One Access and extend the implementation to 1000 schools, and mobilizing support to reach all 10,995 schools.
Working with existing accelerator programmes and ecosystem actors including DSTI to build capacity around DPGs
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. This approach can support the Government’s overall strategy to increase coverage from 60% to 80% by 2024 and increase use by overcoming consumer barriers to connectivity.