* Public free Wi-Fi has been of great use in the hospitals where the services are available
* It has eased information sharing for staff members. It has also made basic communication for guardians and patients easy
* The initiative in national libraries has made it easy for students to access academic content
By Beatrice Ligomeka, MANA
Eight hospitals, 16 schools and eight public places — including four libraries, two markets and two airports are 32 facilities across the country that have benefited from the free public WiFi initiative since it was launched in October, 2021.
In an interview on Monday, Minister of Information & Digitalisation, Moses Kunkuyu said the initiative has eased communication challenges that existed before, saying: “Public free Wi-Fi has been of great use in the hospitals where the services are available.
“It has eased information sharing for staff members. It has also made basic communication for guardians and patients easy.”
He also acknowledged that the initiative in national libraries has made it easy for students to access academic content from different websites without any data charges: has made access to online learning materials easy and aided in research in schools for teachers and students on supervision.
“The initiative is also playing an important role in markets, leading into growth of businesses as people are using free Wi-Fi to advertise their goods online as well as order goods,” Kunkuyu said.
He further said in airports, the initiative has made life easier for those traveling in and out of the country to book for hotels, taxis as well as communicate with friends and relatives.
A Form 4 student at Chichiri Secondary School in Blantyre, Doreen Nkhoma said the initiative has paved way for a wide range of learning materials offered on the internet.
“It was hard for me to access some literature books but after the introduction of free Wi-Fi at our school, I am able to watch videos summarising the books on the internet as such there is a change in my grades compared to the past years before the initiative,” she said.
Free public Wi-Fi initiative has since its inception, seen 14 districts benefitting in all the regions across the country.
On Monday, Kunkuyu presided over the opening of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Regional Cyber drill for Africa at Umodzi Park in Lilongwe, where he said promotion of massive adoption of information telecommunication technologies (ICTs) should be preceded by an assurance to ICT users of the safety and overall security of these technologies.
He said Malawi undertook a cyber security maturity model assessment from which five dimensions are being pursued to address security threats in the cyber space.
He singled out the dimensions taken that include the development and implementation of cyber security policy & strategy, promotion of cyber culture & society, training & skills, strengthening of legal & regulatory frameworks and development of cyber security standards as well as cyber security education.