SA`s first Nepad e-schools on the way

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The Nepad e-Africa Commission, a New Partnership for Africa`s Development (Nepad) ICT task team responsible for developing the Nepad ICT programme and implementing the Nepad e-schools projects, says SA will get its first e-schools in 2006.

"The planning for implementation in SA is at an advanced stage. The deployment of equipment, as well as initial training, is likely to be completed in all schools early in 2006," says Matthew Chetty, manager for the Nepad e-Schools Demo.

"A crucial first step in implementing the Nepad e-schools initiative across the continent is the Nepad e-Schools Demonstration Project (Demo). The Demo will serve the purpose of providing a continental learning platform on which the model for large-scale roll-out will be based. The Demo is being implemented in six schools in each of the 16 African countries, including SA," says Chetty.

"Based on a set of criteria provided by the Nepad e-Africa Commission, the South African government has selected schools in Limpopo, Free State, North West, KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape and Mpumalanga Provinces," he says.

"The Nepad e-schools initiative is primarily aimed at ensuring that African youth graduate from African schools with appropriate skills to enable them to participate effectively in the information society and knowledge economy," says Chetty.

He says a consortia led by HP, Oracle and Cisco are facilitating the implementation at the South African schools.

Lesotho High School is the first school in southern Africa to benefit from the Demo project.

The first Nepad e-school was launched at Bugulumbya Secondary School in Uganda in July.

"It has access to electricity, computers, computer accessories, access to the Internet via a booster mast set-up, a satellite dish, a DSTV education bouquet, a TV monitor and VCR," says Chetty.

"The teachers and learners have been trained to effectively make use of the ICT equipment and the school has access to appropriate digital content and applications for educational and health purposes."

The Nepad e-schools initiative aims to provide solutions to connect schools across Africa to the Nepad e-schools network and the Internet. It is estimated that the project will be completed within 10 years. Each participating country is responsible for the implementation and execution of the project, which was launched in 2003 at the African Economic Summit in Durban.

Related stories:
HP, Nepad, Uganda sign e-schools deal
Nepad ICT education project launched
First NEPAD e-school to launch in Uganda
Cisco strives for African e-school milestone

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