SchoolNet SA was established as a national organisation thanks to the efforts of volunteer educators and innovative thinkers in school networking during the 1990s. The Western Cape Schools Network was established in 1993 as the first regional schools network in Africa. It served as the model on which several other grassroots non-profit regional schools networks were established by volunteering educators. These included the Eastern Cape Schools Network, KwaZulu-Natal Schools Network (later Schoolnet KZN), Gauteng Schools Network and PretNet. The idea for a national schools network organisation came from these regional organisations. Schoolnet SA was eventually established in 1997 with the support of the Department of Education's Centre for Educational Technology and Distance Education and several corporate sponsors. SchoolNet SA operated as a project of the IDRC till 2001 when it became a Section 21 non-profit organisation.