Sub-Saharan Africa has one of the fastest growing youth populations in the world, but most schools do not have access to computer labs or laptops because of inconsistent electricity and lack of basic infrastructure. However, Samsung Electronics, one of the world’s biggest smartphone makers, is reshaping this narrative by committing to the development of innovative solutions to meet the education challenges in Africa. These include the Samsung Smart School solution, Samsung Solar Powered Internet School, and Samsung Solar Power Generator.
In recent years, education in Africa has evolved from the conventional classroom experience, particularly with the launch of Smart School Solutions and other creative initiatives across the continent. Samsung’s Smart School solution is aimed at improving student engagement and aiding teachers by introducing a new and advanced digital learning experience into the classroom that combines easy-to-use devices and dynamic content.
In October 2011, Samsung unveiled its first solar-powered mobile Internet school in South Africa. This is a 12-meter long re-purposed shipping container designed for up to 21 students, equipped with a 50-inch electronic board, Internet-enabled solar-powered notebooks, multi-function printers, Samsung Galaxy tablet computers and Wi-Fi cameras. It is powered by a solar panel roof generating nine hours of electricity a day to address the challenges of power supply in African countries.
With the help of the central server, which controls all the learning devices and stores all the education curriculum up to grade 12, teachers and students are able to engage in a more interactive education process. As of 2013, Solar-powered internet schools are fully operational in 11 countries including Kenya, Angola, Botswana and Nigeria.
The multinational conglomerate company has also installed Smart Schools in countries like Kenya, Rwanda, Mali, South Africa, DR Congo and Sudan. Joining the roster, the Senegal Ministry of Education and Samsung Electronics Africa announced the launch of a mobile education solution in Senegal on February 17, 2015. The mobile education solution which has been installed at the Plan Jaxaay Secondary School is equipped with both monitoring and controlling features that enhance the learning experience. This will allow teachers to monitor educational content on their learners’ screens, which comprises of a screen-sharing feature and a real-time question-and-answer feature.
According to the data presented in 2012 by Africa Learning Barometer, which analyses the state of education and learning in sub-Saharan Africa, half of sub-Saharan Africa’s total primary school population – 61 million children – will reach adolescence without the basic skills needed to lead successful and productive lives.
This initiative is positioned to go a long way in ensuring that African children attain the necessary skills for their respective ages. It has improved student engagement and made accessible the kind of knowledge that matches up to the Western world. Although technology is not the only source of information, it helps to expatiate on the scope of a student’s curriculum. The state-of-the-art modern infrastructure includes educational content such as Economics and History, prepares students with the required knowledge and skills to survive in a world where information has become the new currency.