Dell opens solar-powered lab at Waverley Girls' High

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The solar-powered classrooms will encourage and prepare girls to enter the IT industry.
The solar-powered classrooms will encourage and prepare girls to enter the IT industry.

Waverley Girls' High School in Johannesburg has become the latest recipient of Dell's solar-powered learning lab.

As part of Dell's 2020 Legacy of Good Plan, the solar-powered labs provide technology access to more than 5 000 underprivileged students in communities where technology infrastructure is limited.

In a statement, Dell says the learning lab at Waverley Girls' High will provide technology and connectivity to hundreds of girls from underserviced communities in Alexandria and Hillbrow.

The partnership at the school is only one of the projects Dell and Sci-Bono have collaborated on, according to the statement.

Natasha Reuben, head of transformation at Dell South Africa, says: "Providing world-class education is an ongoing challenge across the developing world, including Africa, South America and Asia. The stakes are too high - education is too important - which is why Dell takes this challenge very seriously."

According to Dell, the labs are constructed inside standard shipping containers, using Dell's Wyse thin client computers and Dell PowerEdge servers to create a computer-empowered learning space.

Solar panels take care of power requirements, while the computers use cloud technologies to run the latest Windows Office systems. The setup is also highly efficient, with each workstation requiring less than seven watts of power, as opposed to 180 watts for a typical PC, says the company.

Reuben states: "Dell developed solar-powered learning labs through a pilot phase in Nigeria in 2013. It has shaped up so well that there are now 10 similar sites in Africa, as well as a new site in Colombia.

"The concept works brilliantly. Instead of throwing technology at teachers and students, we looked at how to solve their problems. A learning lab offers a classroom supported by new technologies and is entirely self-sustaining. It adapts the digital world for them, not the other way around."

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