Mulanje Secondary School and Teacher Development Centre will now start enjoying access to the information superhighway following the launch of the Television White Spaces Test Bed in the district.
Minister of Information, Tourism and Culture, Honourable Kondwani Nankhumwa, officially launched the provision of internet by the TV White Spaces project in a computer lab refurbished and re-equipped by MACRA at Mulanje Secondary School.
The Minister told the audience that gathered to witness the historic launch that in order for the country to fully benefit from the information revolution the world is undergoing, Malawi needs to modernise various sectors of her economy using Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs).
“The Television White Spaces project has been such a revelation in Zomba where it has already been implemented as it has successfully improved internet connectivity in and around the beneficiary institutions,” said Honourable Nankhumwa.
He said with low internet penetration in Malawi, projects like the Television White Spaces are necessary to scale up internet connectivity and access.
MACRA Director General, Mr. Andrew Kumbatira, said there was need for students across Malawi to experience the internet at a young age.
He expressed optimism that the performance of students in academics at Mulanje Secondary School would improve with the TV White Space internet in the school’s renovated computer lab.
“There is a low supply of ICT services in the country as a result of low demand of such services. Equipping students with ICT skills can help create that demand that will drive supply,” said the MACRA DG.
Mr. Kumbatira said there was a direct correlation between access to ICTs in schools and improvement in students’ academics.
He cited St. Marys Secondary School where after installation of the TV White Spaces internet the school registered its best ever performance in the Malawi School Certificate of Education (MSCE) examinsations.
MACRA embarked on the TV White Spaces project in partnership with the Physics Department at Chancellor College, a constituent college of the University of Malawi.
The Project is being done in collaboration with the Marconi Wireless Lab (T/ICT4D) at the International Center for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) in Trieste, Italy. It is aimed at providing broadband connectivity to rural Malawi at affordable cost using the identified gaps (White Spaces) in the TV UHF band. Key to this technology is spectral sensing and database look-up capabilities.