Linking Rural Schools in South Africa and Italy

Linking Rural Schools in South Africa and Italy


Many schools face the disadvantage of having no internet capability. ESA’s Advanced Research in Telecommunications Systems program and Openet Technologies in partnership with Luxembourg’s satellite broadband operator SESTechcom Services are working together to improve this. As part of the Sway4edu, Satellite Way for Education, program funded by ESA, twelve schools with 6500 students in the Mpumalanga region of South Africa and the 60-pupil Comprehensive School of Tricarico-Calciano in the Basilicata region of Italy were equipped with satellite terminals, solar panels and batteries where needed, laptops, tablets, and a projector with screen and loudspeakers. The setup provides Internet connectivity and access to eLearning for teachers and students, media content, and other online monitoring tools and information.

The Singita Community Development foundation in South Africa is supervising the installation of the equipment, the provision of raw material for the online courses, and in collaboration with the Department of Education, the mentoring and training of 200 teachers in the effective use of the system. The installation in Italy has the full backing of the Minister for Education.

In addition, two satellite video-conferencing connections were established, one between the Tricarico-Calciano school in Italy and the Babati Primary School in South Africa to ‘twin’ them for the project, and a second with Francesco Feliciani, ESA’s ESTEC technical center, The Netherlands, for a live lecture about the Rosetta comet probe. It is planned to introduce the students by this to many culturally different environments.


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