Media Release

February 23 2018

BOCRA through the UASF employs Sixty-Eight (68) IT Officers

Sixty-Eight (68) IT officers recently employed by Botswana Communications Regulatory Authority (BOCRA), through the Universal Access and Service Fund (UASF), will on Friday 23 February 2018 complete induction and IT refresher training at Kanye Education Centre.  The IT officers were recruited to serve under the UASF sponsored schools’ connectivity and computerisation project that covers all primary schools in Mabutsane Sub-District, Ghanzi District and Kgalagadi Districts.

The project is a collaboration between the Ministry of Transport and Communications through BOCRA/UASF, Ministry of Basic Education (MoBE), and Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development to promote access to ICTs; develop ICT infrastructure; and develop ‘grass roots level’ skills to exploit the benefits of ICTs.  The project entails supply and installation of computer hardware and peripherals as well as setting up of Local Area Networks at sixty-eight (68) primary schools in the three districts.  Each school will be connected to 5 Mbps dedicated internet and will receive a multi-purpose network printer and fifty (50) educational tablets for the pupils. In addition, all secondary schools in the three areas will each receive thirty (30) laptops to augment their existing inventory of ICT devices.  The IT officers will be stationed in the beneficiary schools of the host villages to facilitate the teachers and pupils to take full advantage of the opportunities and benefits that come with access to broadband Internet and other ICT services.

BOCRA established the UASF in April 2014 as a special purpose vehicle to drive its mandate of ensuring universal access to communications services.  The Fund therefore has the objective of facilitating the rollout of basic yet essential communications services at affordable prices to all communities in underserved and unserved areas in a bid to close the ‘digital gap’.

“We funded the project to the tune of P57,000,000.00 (Fifty-Seven Million Pula), which represents a substantial investment into what we consider one of the most critical sectors – the Education Sector, with the objective of facilitating improved coordination and inclusion mechanisms that can accelerate ICT usage and help spur transformation of the rural communities.  The project is also a response to the Government’s call for employment creation.”, said Mr Thapelo Kalake, Chairman of UASF Board of Trustees.

Once completed, the recipient schools will enjoy:

  • Use of ICTs from a grass roots level;
  • Digital literacy in rural schools;
  • Access to online educational content; and
  • High speed internet connectivity.

 

Alongside the schools’ computerisation and connectivity project, the Fund is also undertaking a project to upgrade mobile telephony base stations in all the villages in the three areas to a minimum of 3G capability to facilitate uptake of broadband internet services.  Upgrades of base stations is done in collaboration with mobile network operators, that is BTCL which will cover Ghanzi District, Mascom will cover Kgalagadi District while Orange will cover Mabutsane Sub-District.

Upon completion of the orientation, the IT graduates will dispatch to their various duty station and start work.

For more information, please contact:

Mr Aaron Nyelesi

D/Director, Corporate Communications and PR

Private Bag 00495

Gaborone

Tel: +267 3685500

Email: nyelesi@bocra.org.bw

 

Each school will be supplied with the following:

  • 50 Educational Tablets (48 student tablets and 2 master tablets);
  • 1 laptop for the UASF IT Officer;
  • 1 Multipurpose Printer
  • 1 Server;
  • 2 Charge & Sync trolleys;
  • 1 Switch Cabinet;
  • 1 Switch;
  • Wired and Wireless Local Area Network
  • 2 Wireless Access Points;
  • 1 Wireless Controller
  • 1 Uninterruptable Power Supply (UPS)
  • Software and
  • 5Mbps dedicated Internet

 

The UASF was established in April 2014 through a Deed of Trust to facilitate the rollout of communications services to unserved and underserved areas through subsidisation of costs for provision of such services.  The Fund is run by an independent Board of Trustees.  The Fund is financed through collection of 1% levy on identified licensees in the telecommunications, broadcasting and postal subsectors.

The Fund started the implementation of the schools’ connectivity and computerisation project in the western part of Botswana recognising the vastness of the area, its low population density and relative underdevelopment of ICT facilities, the conditions that fit in with the objectives of the Fund.

The project is part of the implementation of the Fund’s three-year Strategic Plan for the period 2015-2018.  Previously the Fund facilitated the rollout Wi-Fi hotspots in public places across the country including at malls, hospitals, bus/taxi ranks.

IT Officers undergoing induction at Kanye Education Centre