A practical approach to enhancing internet access in schools has been demonstrated in a digital connectivity project funded by the Australian Government.
The initiative will benefit up to 3,000 students and 160 teachers throughout Fiji.
Building on the success of a pilot activity in seven schools, the Ministry of Education, Heritage and Arts (MEHA) and the Australian Government are working together to install fixed outdoor modems in 15 additional schools for better coverage and more stable connections.
John Feakes, Australia’s High Commissioner to Fiji, joined the Minister for Education Heritage and Arts, Rosy Akbar, in Nakavu Village School in Namosi on Tuesday, 9 April to officially launch the internet connectivity modem project and hand over equipment to support online learning.
Nakavu Village School, together with Lekutu Secondary School, are the first to receive the equipment, with installation in the remaining 13 schools to be led by MEHA over the next several months. An immediate benefit from the first two installations is the low-cost access to reliable internet.
Feakes said, “Australia is committed to supporting Fiji’s efforts to further strengthen its education system. For Fiji to achieve inclusive and quality education for all, it is important that all schools are connected to the Internet.”
Akbar said, “as a Government, we are committed to levelling the playing field for our students across the country. Access to internet is increasingly becoming a necessity as we are now firmly in the digital world. This will ensure that our students and teachers in these two schools and another 13 to come will be able to literally keep up with local and international developments.”
“Further, we will expand the number of smart classrooms to support student engagement through technology enabled learning. This will better prepare our students for their future as we work to include more schools in our remote areas in the digital era.”
Nakavu Village School and Lekutu Secondary School previously had patchy, irregular internet coverage, which meant access was only possible in certain, often inconvenient, locations. With constant struggles to upload emails with attachments, internet access was limited to basic administrative tasks with no opportunity to expand to the library and classrooms.
Nakavu Village School and Lekutu Secondary School now have consistent Wi-Fi reaching all classrooms, offices and playing fields.