Following a joint venture by Enterprise Linux, and open source solutions provider, SUSE South Africa and Limpopo Connexion, an Offline Content Project launched which ensures schools get access to educational information even when they have no internet connectivity.
This project, which has been running since April 2016, was officially highlighted recently in Polokwane to coincide with the Free Open Source Software (FOSS) Day. The official launch attracted members of local government and the Limpopo Government IT Officers Council.
SUSE have provided the operating system for the laptops and tablets used at the schools across the province and have been assisting with free technical support for the year.
Matthew Lee, SUSE Regional Manager for Africa, said this was 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,” said Lee.
The Offline Content Project seeks to develop ICT skills in the province and wants to empower community members to be active participants in the knowledge economy.
impopo Connexion Acting CEO, Baldwin Ramasobane, explained that with partners like SUSE, Limpopo 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.
“We want to transform Limpopo into a world-class knowledge society and this is the platform that will enable us to do so,” he said.
Lee agreed with the statement made by Ramasobane by saying 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.
He further said by creating an information-rich society built through knowledge received from an open source environment, the role of education truly becomes transformational.
Lee feels that this finally gives impetus to making learners employable for organisations looking for digital-savvy people that are comfortable with using information in practical ways.
“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,” he concluded.