Today Techzim attended an event where we witnessed the signing ceremony sealing a distribution deal between Line Products and Services (LPS) and Samsung for Samsung’s Solar Powered Internet School, Smart School Solutions, Solar Powered Health Centers and other e-government solutions from Samsung.
Samsung S.A Business Leader for Information Technology, Nelo Neves, presented a handful of the solutions that are now available to the Zimbabwean market. All of the solutions presented today are primarily targeted at government departments.
The Solar Powered Internet School was the one that caught our attention. It’s a container school powered by solar energy with extra add–ons to enable e-learning. The “school” uses digital devices, namely Samsung laptops, LCD monitors and Galaxy Tabs 10.1 for teacher-student interaction. The devices comes with pre-installed earning content from B.B.C Education, Oxford, World books and Vita Edu. Pupils will use the tablets for all their school work whilst the teacher uses the laptop and monitor for demonstrations and to track student activities in real time. The product has already been launched in Thembisa and Cape Town in South Africa with other units already in place in East Africa.
The product is a great solution for most African countries that either don’t have schools in remote areas or have schools in remote areas without electricity. However, the solution seems too elaborate for the most basic needs of poor rural communities and this is reflected in the cost. To deploy one of these units (full set with solar panels, 24 tablets, laptop, air conditioner, monitor, and content) our government will have to part with a cool US $100,000.
Smart School Solutions are targeted at upmarket schools where students also use state of the art Samsung devices and apps in learning.
LPS Chairman, Cleo Mathabire, was upbeat about the prospects this deal presented and emphasised that the deal included other solutions like e-government and solar powered mobile health centres that they expect would improve government systems and service delivery.
Similar solar powered tech units have been previously launched in Africa largely by NGOs which may indicate African governments’ reluctance or inability to invest in ICTs for rural communities.