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Partnership boosts offline learning in Limpopo

Matthew Lee, regional manager for Africa at SUSE.

Matthew Lee, regional manager for Africa at SUSE.

Open source solutions provider, SUSE SA, has partnered with Limpopo Connexion introduce the Offline Content Project which ensures that 25 schools get access to educational information even when they have no Internet connectivity.

According to SUSE, although the project has been running since April 2016, the partnership will be officially unveiled tomorrow, in Polokwane to coincide with the Free Open Source Software (FOSS) Day and will see partners and the Limpopo Government IT Officers Council in attendance. The Limpopo Connexion, part of the Limpopo government, manages several ICT programmes to achieve the provinces ICT vision.

The Offline Content Project seeks to develop ICT skills in the province and aims to empower community members by providing educational tools in an offline environment, adds the company.

"This is a great partnership between the public and private sector and reflects the commitment there is to getting learners access to quality tools and information for the digital age. One of the many benefits of using open source and SUSE as the foundation in this project is that it is incredibly cost-effective as no licensing is required. Furthermore, there is no vendor lock-in so the 25 schools in the project have carte blanche when it comes to the open source platform," says Matthew Lee, regional manager for Africa at SUSE.

The open-source solutions provider says it provided the operating system on the laptops and tablets used at the schools across the province and have been assisting with free technical support for the year.

"This is a perfect example of how open source is creating opportunities for education as well as how the government can work with the private sector to create practical value for the citizens of the country. By creating an information-rich society built through knowledge received from an open source environment, the role of education truly becomes transformational," adds Lee.

This finally gives impetus to making learners employable for organisations looking for digital-savvy people that are comfortable with using information in practical ways, he continues.

"With partners like SUSE, the Limpopo province can lead the charge in showing how free and open source software can be used to help deliver on the national development goals and strategies, notes Baldwin Ramasobane, acting CEO at Limpopo Connexion. "We want to transform Limpopo into a world-class knowledge society and this is the platform that will enable us to do so.

Partnerships such as these showcase the potential that exists for open source in Africa – across both public and private sectors. By giving learners access to a wealth of information in an offline environment, we are providing alternatives to the connectivity challenges that exist in many of the rural communities across South Africa and the rest of the continent, concludes Lee.


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