Enterprise Linux and open source solutions provider, SUSE South Africa, has joined forces with Limpopo Connexion to launch the Offline Content Project that saw schools getting access to educational information even when they have no connectivity.
The project while running since April 2016 will be officially highlighted on 17 March 2017, in Polokwane to coincide with the Free Open Source Software (FOSS) Day and will see members of government in attendance in addition to the partners and the Limpopo Government IT Officers Council.
SUSE had 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.
“This is 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,” says Matthew Lee, regional manager for Africa at SUSE.
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.
“With partners like SUSE, the Limpopo province 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,” says Acting CEO, Mr. Baldwin Ramasobane at Limpopo Connexion.
Lee agrees. “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. By creating an information-rich society built through knowledge received from an open source environment, the role of education truly becomes transformational.”
He 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,” says Lee.