In South Africa, we wish that only 1 out of 4 homes didn’t have high-speed internet! We also wish that only 1 out 4 schools didn’t have high-speed internet.
This week President Obama formally announced ConnectHome, a government-private sector partnership to bring high-speed broadband to families in assisted housing across the States. 1 out of 4 houses in the USA don’t have high-speed internet. With Obama’s plan, this will quickly change.
Let’s now compare this to South Africa where the majority of homes and even schools don’t have high-speed internet access. All schools in South Africa need access to the internet, we cannot expect teachers to teach properly without any internet access and we can’t expect students to be ready for the working world if their classrooms aren’t connected.
There is a massive opportunity for entrepreneurs, businesses, NGO and the Government to step into the gap and solve this problem. And some are stepping up.
One of the shining stars is the Western Cape Education Department who is in the process of implementing their eVision and is on track to have high-speed internet at every school by the end of 2016. Listening to Clinton Walker talk, I wouldn’t be surprised if they do it before then. Watch a video of his talk here.
Project Isizwe is another organisation that is fast having an impact, with tangible results. Their website says they are a ‘non-profit organisation which aims to bring the internet to people across South Africa, by facilitating the roll-out of Free WiFi for public spaces in low-income communities, with a core focus on connectedness for the purpose of education’. And the good news is they are pulling it off.
We have a long way to go but it is possible. And when it happens we can expect more opportunities for edtech suppliers to enter the market and make a difference.