RNP participates in public hearing of the Senate Science and Technology Committee

- 07/12/2023

On 12/6, RNP general director Nelson Simões represented the organization at the public hearing on school connectivity held by the Science and Technology Commission of the Federal Senate. The coordination of efforts to universalize internet access for young students was presented to senators by the Ministries of Education (MEC), Communications (MCom), National Telecommunications Agency (Anatel), School Connectivity Administrative Entity (Eace) and the Federal Court of Accounts (TCU), in addition to the National Education and Research Network (RNP). 
At the hearing, RNP responded to parliamentarians' questions, such as the public promotion of the 2021-2030 Management Contract not receiving resources from the 5G Notice; the lack of relationships with satellite telecommunications companies; and the execution of social, institutional and public external controls (TCU) as a federal Social Organization for Science, Technology and Innovation.

On the occasion, the general director spoke about RNP's role in developing new ways of doing things. "RNP's role in basic education is to formulate models, technical references and good practices to incorporate technology into education in an inclusive and efficient way." As examples, he cited the Internet Brasil project, in which RNP developed a proof of concept for the use of configurable mobile broadband, which benefited 10,518 students distributed across 41 schools; The Conexão das Escolas, which has already delivered better internet to more than 2 thousand schools in difficult-to-access regions; and the pilot project of the Connected Education Innovation Policy (PIEC), which built secure and scalable external and internal networks (wi-fi) for 523 schools in 11 cities in the North and Northeast. 
For him, “the country, for the first time, is in an advantageous position to connect all its schools. We have infrastructure and resources to connect schools. It is a great challenge, but an even greater effort is the coordination that the MEC is making with ENEC”. The National Strategy for Connected Schools (ENEC) is a public education policy that brings together all ongoing initiatives and programs with the aim of universalizing significant connectivity in educational institutions by 2026, promoting access to quality internet in more than 138 thousand basic education schools in the country. 
At the Commission, the MEC coordinator, Ana Úngari, presented the ministry's vision for school connectivity. “We want to educate with technology for inclusion and digital citizenship. And it is our concern to coordinate resources and initiatives from the Federal Government regarding the universalization of connectivity in our schools. Therefore, we need to define national connectivity parameters for pedagogical use,” she said.  
To meet this challenge, the MEC composed and coordinates the ENEC Executive Committee, together with the MCom and the Civil House of the Presidency of the Republic, with representation from the ministries of Science, Technology and Innovation and Mines and Energy; the National Telecommunications Agency (Anatel); the National Education Development Fund (FNDE); from Telebras; the National Bank for Economic and Social Development (BNDES); and RNP. “These partners have supported public policies for quality internet access by setting goals for the objectives of Escolas Conectadas and defining and making public technical connectivity parameters”, confirmed Ana. 
Part of ENEC, MCom highlighted that the department's role is to make the telecommunications sector's contribution to school connectivity, through programs such as WiFi Brasil, which currently serves around 13,000 schools via Telebras' Geostationary Defense and Strategic Communications Satellite (SGDC), and the connection of schools with terrestrial infrastructure with the support of regional providers, in projects coordinated by RNP. 
“Also with the restructuring of FUST (Fund for Universalization of Telecommunications Services), we were able to coordinate initiatives in which private companies, instead of collecting taxes, can implement infrastructure projects that contribute to bringing good quality connections to more places. In this sense, we have led initiatives, including the standardization of technical criteria”, added the director of MCom, Pedro Lucas Araújo. 
The initiative with resources from the 5G Notice 
The director of Anatel, Vicente Aquino, contextualized the development of the Cost Monitoring Group for School Connectivity Projects (Gape) based on the 5G Notice (Tender Notice nº 1/2021-SOR/SPR/CD-ANATEL). Gape aims to carry out connectivity projects for public basic education schools, with the quality and speed necessary for pedagogical use. 
Based on criteria established by Gape, Eace was created, a company responsible for bringing internal and external internet infrastructure to public schools, enabling the arrival of a network of the quality and speed necessary for use in teaching activities. 
“We started by providing the internet and ended the process with training, digital literacy, for teachers. In two months, the school is covered. Contracting takes place through an RFP (request for proposals) and the best technical proposal and price are chosen. It is worth mentioning that, despite the invitation, Eace did not receive any proposal from Telebras for our pilot (which served 177 schools in the five regions of the country). Furthermore, the SGDC (Geostationary Defense and Strategic Communications Satellite) does not meet the minimum speed for educational activities in schools”, explained the president to Eace, Paula Martins. 

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