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Thursday, 19 November 2020 07:37

Dell launches Solar Learning Labs project in Australia

Dell launches Solar Learning Labs project in Australia Courtesy Dell

Dell Technologies, along with ICT enabler Computer Aid International, has launched its Solar Learning Labs project in Australia with the first lab to be funded for delivery to an Indigenous community and to be rolled out next year, and a total of five planned by 2030.

In a statement, the company said it had already delivered 21 such labs across Africa and South America. The labs are built from two refurbished and insulated shipping containers and can be located anywhere as they are powered by self-generated solar energy.

The labs have so far given about 17,000 students access to technology and also serve as Internet cafes after working hours.

There is space for about 25 students in each lab which has 10 dedicated student workstations and one for the teacher; the second container is used as an open classroom space for learning.

Dell provides the workstations and laptops and will jointly develop the learning program along with Computer Aid. It will included the International Computer Driving Licence methodology to encourage computer literacy that meets the need of the community.

“We take access to computers and the Internet for granted, but just under half of the world’s population do not have it," said Angela Fox, Dell Technologies senior vice-president and managing director, Australia & New Zealand.

"In a land as big as Australia, we have work to do to give remote communities the same opportunities as other students. The Australian Solar Learning Lab is an important step in Dell Technologies’ commitment to use our technology and scale to advance education, health, and economic opportunities for a billion people by 2030."

The location of the first lab has not yet been decided with Indigenous communities in Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory being considered.

The first solar lab was launched in Nigeria in 2014. The solar system to be used in Australia has a minimum set-up of 1.5 KW power including 6x 265watt panels and lithium-ion batteries. If extra power is needed, additional panels and batteries can be added.

“Digital access inequalities impact youth living in remote or marginalised communities across the world," said Alejandro Espinosa Llano, Computer Aid International’s Solar Lab program manager.

"We believe in a world where everyone should have access to the same opportunities. Our Solar Learning Labs provide the best technology and educational programs to the people that need it most and deliver a message of inclusion and a tool for positive transformation. We have a collaborative approach and other partners and companies are welcome to join this program."

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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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