Recently, a number of schools in the Gauteng province of South Africa began their school year without the standard books, pens, and pencils. Rather than using paper, children were going to learn through wireless, mobile tablets, creating some of the first smart schools in the country. Through school-wide wifi coverage and access to digital textbooks, children started learning using computers and mobile devices.
South Africa has made great strides over the years in improving their education. But with over 71% of South African teachers work in schools with over 30% of socio-economically disadvantaged students according to a recent Amnesty International report, there is significant room for improvement.
Educating the population has been shown to not only reduce the inequality that may be present in the population but have a positive impact on the environment. Studies have shown that people with more education tended to support environmentally friendly policies and act with the environment in mind. Here we take a look into what is happening with technology in the South African education system and how your company or institution can make a difference in both education, and the environment.
Lack of Resources and Technology in South African Schools
For schools to be able to move into the realm of learning through technology there are a number of hardware-related criteria that South Africa must meet. Schools require the internet infrastructure and computers that the students and teachers will be using to access their educational software. This hardware must also be managed and properly maintained to run the software and learning-related applications, something that many hardware distributors can offer.
Hardware requirements include the internet infrastructure, personal computers, tablets, and smartphones that both students and teachers will be using. According to Statistics South Africa, as of July 2020, only 36.1% of households had access to tablets, and 61.2% to laptops. With e-learning gaining traction in South Africa despite many technological barriers, there is a lack of resources and technology in schools.
Make a Difference by Donating Electronics
A recent Global E-waste Monitor 2020 report found that 53.6 million tonnes of e-waste were thrown out in the last year with only 17.4% of it recycled. Much of computer hardware is disposed of as it is no longer powerful enough for current applications but is still in otherwise working condition. Often this will occur when companies or institutions purchase new computers to replace ageing hardware that no longer handles their higher requirements. These pieces of hardware can be repurposed for other uses that do not require the top of the line processors and latest technology.
E-learning is an area that benefits greatly from used computers as the computing power required is relatively low. The next time your company has used hardware that it is looking to dispose of, make a significant difference by donating your used electronics to education. Not only will there be less e-waste being generated, but those computers can be used to make a difference in the lives of children in places in need by putting much-needed technology into the hands of both students and teachers.
Donate to the HP Refresh Programme
HP currently donates millions of dollars worth of technology to aid in education through programmes such as the HP Education Program. As part of its sustainability programme, there is the HP Refresh Program for companies and consumers to take their used computers or tablets and have them donated towards e-learning.
Any brand can be donated to the programme as long as it is in working condition. HP provides software that can be used to securely wipe all the data on each computer. Rather than ending up as e-waste, these computers will go to students and teachers in underprivileged areas such as those in South Africa and used for education.
For companies and institutions that have a large number of electronics that they would like to donate, they should contact one of their local HP distributors to get more information about bulk donations. Additionally, if any of the computers are faulty, the distributor will be able to assess if it can be repaired and eventually donated or recycled.
Tarsus Distribution is the longest-established IT distributor and the leading distributor of HP products in South Africa. We are positioned to provide credit funding, stock availability and efficient logistics so that resellers can deliver the best possible service and solutions to small and mid-sized end-user customers.
Part of our focus is on generating solutions in response to customers’ needs. We are committed to reducing our environmental impact through internal energy-saving and recycling programmes, and supplying e-Waste containers both internally and to our customers.
Tarsus Distribution has branches in Western Cape, Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, and Free State, with its head office in Gauteng. We have also started extending into the rest of Africa with branches in Namibia, Botswana, and Zambia.