Samsung taps into solar powered schooling

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(Ken Macharia) Solar powered mobile schools are soon set to make their way into Kenya’s vast semi-arid areas, benefiting thousands of children in these communities, thanks to Samsung.

The classrooms are long-haul containers which can be moved around by tracks and are fitted with solar panels to power the electrical equipment inside.

The Samsung initiative, which has already kicked off in South Africa, aims to tackle Africa’s unique environment, in particular, harsh weather conditions and poor infrastructure.

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.

Samsung Electronics East Africa Business Leader Robert Ngeru confirmed the plans to roll out the program, saying its part of Samsung’s CSR initiatives.

“We want to raise computer literacy as we grow our business on the continent. The Solar Powered Internet School is a great example of this strategy at play,” said Ngeru.

The Solar powered internet school will especially become essential in Kenya as huge areas are not connected to the national electricity grid. In addition, the nomadic culture of some communities will help keep students in schools even when they move from different places.

The classroom can comfortably accommodate 21 learners, and includes several layers of insulation and a ventilation system, to ensure a temperate environment is maintained.

Each classroom is fitted with a 50 inch electronic E-board and different Samsung Notebooks and Netbooks, including the world-first solar powered netbooks and Galaxy Tablets for student and teacher interface.

The server currently contains the complete South African school curriculum but will soon be aligned to Kenya’s curriculum from Standard one to eight.

“The amount of power generated by the schools each day means they can be used beyond the traditional school day as an adult education centre in the afternoons or a community centre over weekends,” says Tessa Calleb, Samsung’s East Africa CSR Manager.

“Our goal was to create an environment that would facilitate learning for whole communities in remote areas that otherwise don’t have access to education tools or internet connectivity.”

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