Limpopo schools get offline content

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Free Open Source Software (FOSS) Day (17 March) was officially celebrated in Polokwane today with the lauding of an offline content project that enables schools in Limpopo to access educational information even when they have no Internet connectivity.

The project - which was launched in April 2016 - was a joint undertaking by enterprise Linux and open source solutions provider, SUSE South Africa, and Limpopo Connexion, the Limpopo provincial government agency charged with promoting the use of ICT to improve service delivery and developing ICT as a sector in the province.

SUSE provided the operating system for the laptops and tablets used at the 25 schools involved in the project, and has been assisting with free technical support since its inception.

"This project 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," said Matthew Lee, regional manager for Africa at SUSE.

"It 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 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 schools in the project have carte blanche when it comes to the open source platform.

"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," he added.

Limpopo Connexion Acting CEO, Baldwin Ramasobane said that with partners like SUSE, the Limpopo province could lead the charge in showing how free and open source software could be used to help deliver on the national development goals and strategies.

"We want to transform Limpopo into a world-class knowledge society and this is the platform that will enable us to do so," Ramasobane concluded.

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