Dec 09, 2011
Samsung Africa launches solar-powered Internet schoolsBack
© Reuse this
A world first, the exclusively solar-powered mobile and completely independent classroom is designed particularly for use in remote rural areas with limited or no access to electricity.
The Solar Powered Internet School model tackles one of Africa’s biggest economic challenges, namely electricity supply. On average, less than 25% of rural areas on the continent benefit from electricity, resulting in isolated communities with limited access to education and connectivity – both of which are key to fast-tracking a nation’s development.
The initiative is an example of Samsung’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) investment on the continent, and its keen focus on education and harnessing the company’s legacy of innovation to respond to the needs of people on the continent. The launch follows the roll-out of Samsung Africa’s ‘Built for Africa’ product range and the Samsung Electronics Engineering Academy earlier this year.
“We have set an ambitious goal for ourselves in Africa: to positively affect five-million lives by 2015. We believe that this can most effectively be achieved if we connect our CSR initiatives with our history and core business. With the goal to grow our business on the continent, we also know that we have to sustain our level of innova- tion. This can only be achieved if we invest in education to facilitate African thought leader- ship and to ensure we have access to a large workforce of skilled engineers in the future. The Solar Powered Internet School is a great example of this strategy at play,” says Samsung Electronics Africa president and CEO KK Park.
A 12-m-long shipping container is used to build a Solar Powered Internet School, making the schools easily transportable by truck to remote areas. The schools are built for energy- scarce environments, harsh weather conditions and for transportation over long distances. Fold-away solar panels provide enough energy to power the classroom’s equipment for up to nine hours a day and for one-and-a-half days without any sunlight at all. The solar panels are made from rubber instead of glass to ensure they are hardy and durable enough to survive long journeys across the continent.
The classroom can comfortably accommodate 21 learners, and includes several layers of insulation and a ventilation system to ensure that a temperate environment is maintained. Each classroom is fitted with a 127 cm electronic e-board and different Samsung notebooks and netbooks, including the world-first solar-powered netbooks and Galaxy tablets for student and teacher interface, all of which have been engineered for use in a solar-powered environment.
“The amount of power generated by the schools each day means these schools can be used beyond the traditional school day as an adult education centre in the afternoons or a community centre over weekends.
Our goal is to create an environment that would facilitate learning for whole communities in remote areas that otherwise don’t have access to educational tools or Internet connectivity,” Park adds.
The school is also equipped with an energy efficient refrigerator, a file server, a router, uninterruptible power supply, a video camera and a world-first WiFi camera, all of which are designed to communicate through 3G. This allows a central location, such as the Depart- ment of Education, to monitor classes and deliver curriculum-based content directly to both the learners’ and educators’ notebooks.
The server contains the complete South African school curriculum, from grade 0 to grade 12, allowing the school to teach any school subject or grade.
In the unlikely event of a complete power outage, teachers can continue their lessons using a regular built-in whiteboard and chalkboard. Samsung LED lighting ensures reduced power consumption, while remote solar power diagnostics are in place in the event of a power supply complication.
With 21 students and one teacher, as well as other members of the community, making use of the classroom daily, Samsung has installed its environment-friendly Virus Doctor air-purification system to ward off the spread of germs within the classroom.
The Samsung Super Plasma ion technology emits active hydro- gen and oxygen ions into the air, inhibiting infection by airborne viruses and destroying airborne bacteria, fungi and allergens.
The Solar Powered Internet School prototype is currently being piloted at the Samsung Electronics Engineering Academy, in Boksburg. It has also been sent to Qunu, in the Eastern Cape, to undergo further testing as a functioning learning and teaching environment, with the aim to scale up production of the container schools in future.
Edited by: Martin Zhuwakinyu© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
Other Labour and Skills Development News
Article contains comments
Updated 10 minutes ago One tiny Australian wasp is killing another tiny Australian wasp in South Africa’s commercial forests – and it is a good thing. Leptocybe invasa, the bad guy in this story and an Australian native, was first spotted in Eucalyptus trees in Israel, says the University...
Updated 11 minutes ago Following four months of improvements, the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s (Sacci’s) Copper Theft Barometer increased to R13-milllion in September, up from R12-million the month before. This was the fourth monthly increase in the “relatively...
Updated 2 hours 21 minutes ago The International Monetary Fund foresees large financing needs next year in the three West African countries hardest hit by the outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus. "The outlook for the Ebola-hit countries has worsened, with large financing needs likely for 2015," IMF...
Recent Research Reports
Defence 2014: A review of South Africa's defence industry (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Defence 2014 report examines South Africa’s defence industry, with particular focus on the key participants in the sector, the innovations that have come out of the sector, local and export demand, South Africa’s controversial multibillion-rand...
Road and Rail 2014: A review of South Africa's road and rail infrastructure (PDF report)
Creamer Media’s Road and Rail 2014 report examines South Africa’s road and rail transport system, with particular focus on the size and state of the country’s road and rail network, the funding and maintenance of these respective networks, and the push to move road...
Real Economy Year Book 2014 (PDF Report)
This edition drills down into the performance and outlook for a variety of sectors, including automotive, construction, electricity, transport, steel, water, coal, gold, iron-ore and platinum.
Real Economy Insight: Automotive 2014 (PDF Report)
This four-page brief covers key developments in the automotive industry over the past 12 months, including an overview of South Africa’s automotive market, trade figures, production and the policies influencing the sector.
Real Economy Insight: Construction 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the construction industry over the past 12 months. It provides an overview of the sector and includes details of employment in the sector, infrastructure and municipal spending, as well as insight into companies’...
Real Economy Insight: Electricity 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the electricity industry over the past 12 months, including details of State-owned power utility Eskom’s generation activities, funding and tariffs, independent power producers and prospects for the sector.
This Week's Magazine
In the next 20 years, it was expected that, in Africa, more people would live in cities and towns than in rural areas, United Nations Habitat executive director Dr Aisa Kirabo Kacyira said at the Human Settlements Indaba that took place earlier this month in...
Tough-talking Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu has committed government to building 1.5-million low-cost houses over the next five years, telling the Human Settlements Indaba in Johannesburg on Wednesday that the State would achieve this target through the...
Over the past 20 years there has been persistent concern about deindustrialisation in South Africa, as well as the fact that locally produced manufactured products have been increasingly displaced by imports.
Financial agreement for Ghanian independent power producer (IPP) Cenpower Generation Company’s $900-million, 350 MW combined-cycle gas-turbine power plant was finalised earlier this month, paving the way for the project’s construction to begin before 2015 in Tema,...
The revenue implications for South Africa of ‘base erosion and profit shifting’ by corporate taxpayers are firmly in the crosshairs of the Davis Tax Committee (DTC) and Judge Dennis Davis hinted last week that recommendations were being considered to “detect and...