SchoolNet SA

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Nortel Phumelela Networks Project

Nortel Networks South Africa identified the need to promote the use of Information and Communication Technologies in previously disadvantaged communities in South Africa.

Science, Mathematics, Engineering and Technology skills are severely lacking in these under-privileged communities. Nortel Networks saw this as an opportunity to bring technology closer to these communities to instil interest in developing these skills.

The 'Phumelela Networks' project, phumelela meaning 'to be uccessful', entailed the establishment of three provincial hub sites in the Eastern Cape, Northern province and Gauteng provinces. The partnerships involved provide the possibility of extending the project to other provinces in South Africa.

These hub sites consist of networked computers and telecommunications infrastructure in a community access facility, servicing schools and the community at large. SchoolNet SA made appropriate educational support and training available at these hub sites to ensure that educators
and learners use technology and the Internet in particular, as a teaching and learning resource. This included the training of dedicated technical interns at each site. The project provided for the development of partnerships with the local community, ensuring a sustainable project.

A Contribution Agreement was signed between Nortel Networks and the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), on behalf of SchoolNet SA, in May 1999, and was effective until December 2002.  Briefly, the Contribution Agreement provided for the establishment of three
network hub sites, one each in the Gauteng Province, the Northern Province and the Eastern Cape Province.

The first hub site was launched at the Katlehong Resource Centre in Gauteng in November 1999. The response by the community to the installation of this Centre has been overwhelming.  Some of the activities taking place at this center include: Thinkquest, Computer Clubs, Community Training, Distance Education support programme

Further details on these activities is available here .

The second site was launched (in March 2000) at the Vuwane Resource Centre in the Northern Province. The University of Venda, acts as the custodian of this Centre. 

For further details on these activities, is available here .

The third hub was launched on 20 th December 2001 at the Qunu Community Resource Centre in the Eastern Cape by Nelson Mandela.

Nortel Networks delivers value to customers around the world through Unified Networks Solutions, spanning mission-critical telephony and IP-optimized networks. Customers include public and private enterprises and institutions, Internet Service Providers, local, long-distance, cellular and PCS communications companies, cable television carriers, and utilities.


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