Nedbank and AMD are partnering to jointly deploy 50×15 Learning Labs across five schools in previously disdadvantaged South African communities, the first of which was unveiled yesterday at the Nelson R. Mandela High School in Gugulethu.

Learning Labs, a concept pioneered by AMD, are customised, measurable deployments of technology solutions that not only provide constituents with Internet access, but also educational, personal and professional development tools that unlock new and powerful ways for students to collaborate with their teachers.
Nelson R. Mandela High School was selected as the first of several schools that will implement Learning Labs, based on its strong vision and the ability to provide lasting impact to the broader Gugulethu community.
"We are confident that this Learning Lab and the others to follow it will greatly enhance the local educational system’s ability to provide students with the skills and information they need to achieve success in an increasingly competitive, digital world," says Tom Boardman, CEO of Nedbank South Africa. "We see this partnership as another innovative way to meet the needs of South African communities and level the playing field via technology so that those in the developing world can compete effectively with their global counterparts."
The Nelson R. Mandela computing centre and others like it around the world all play a key role in  the 50×15 Initiative, an effort launched by AMD at the 2004 World Economic Forum to enable affordable Internet connectivity and computing capability for 50% of the world's population by the year 2015. "Nedbank was an obvious choice as our South African 50×15 partner as both organisations are passionate about education and leveraging technology to improve people’s lives," says Gautam Srivastava, vice-president of sales and marketing and MD of AMD Middle East, Africa, and Pakistan. "The positive effects of the learning labs extend beyond the students and teachers at the schools and into the greater community by providing an incredible community resource for educational and economic development opportunities."
Learning Lab deployments follow best practices for an effective school ICT solution, the companies says. The labs feature a holistic, comprehensive infrastructure comprised of compact, sealed, ultra-low power IT hardware designed to cope with the unique local challenges of the environment.
The systems are able to run the latest operating systems including Windows Starter Edition, Windows XP Pro and Linux. The labs also come equipped with content and applications; a local area network; Internet connectivity; a teacher-training programme; maintenance and support; and a sustainability plan.
Additionally, this Learning Lab includes support from a broad ecosystem of partners including Microsoft, Cisco, Tarsus, First for Business, CompuTainer @tlantic and Learnthings.