If you enjoyed our article titled “Education in an information age: homegrown challenges and possibilities”, posted last July, you will remember us brainstorming different ways in which the (dismally failing) South African educational system could be assisted by the smart use of technology for remote and under-resourced schools. Well, HP’s ‘Out of the box’ educational initiative is proving to be a much-needed remedy for unconnected students.
Created by HP’s Indian branch, the project seeks to provide internet connections and applications for schools and businesses in developing nations, particularly where there is little infrastructure already in place. The pre-installed system is a refurbished shipping container fitted with a single server and enough machines, monitors and desks for ten pupils in the twenty-foot container and enough for twenty pupils in the forty-foot container, with two server host PC’s. It’s a simple, genius, no mess, no fuss solution that basically arrives ready to go, only needing enough space for the container and a cement slab for it to sit on.
Tarsus Technologies has been distributing the containers on behalf of HP and the first units have already arrived in Durban and are being shown to re-sellers in the education sector after successful deployments in other regions of Africa, in Asia and in Latin America. The use of ADSL or mobile broadband keeps the costs low and there are plans to install solar panels for containers set for more remote areas.
This is just the kind of smart education solution the country and the developing world at large have been looking for and the implications for small business owners are also extremely exciting.