SEOUL, South Korea, Oct 14 (Korea Bizwire) — The Ministry of Education said on October 11 that it would begin the “solar school project” on an experimental basis in efforts to reduce the digital gap in African countries jointly with Samsung Electronics. The solar school project is an international development program to increase opportunities for children in underdeveloped regions of the world to have access to information technology by building schools and classrooms powered by solar energy.
The program was kicked off in February last year when private participants and public organizations got together in an Association for the Development of Education in Africa meeting held in Ethiopia to discuss ways to expand educational cooperation between Korea and African countries.
Samsung Electronics has pledged to donate three solar schools in three African nations including Ghana, Ethiopia, and Kenya while the ministry set aside a budget of 300 million won for teaching program development and teacher training. As for program execution, the Korea Education and Research Information Service will be responsible for it. The three private-public entities have signed a cooperation agreement on the 11th for that purpose.
Education Minister Seo Nam-Soo said, “As we are the world’s leader in ICT and e-learning, it is time to make a difference in the official development assistance area by moving in to Africa.”
Lee Sang-hoon, Samsung Electronics president, said, “Samsung Electronics is committed to helping developing countries improve the quality of their education and medical services. Through a variety of global-level CSR activities, we hope to reduce the digital gap across countries.”
Lim Seung-bin, president of the Korea Education and Research Information Service, said, “Up until now, Korea’s ODA activities have focused on giving away hardware. We want to change this more toward software by transferring know-how of our teachers in information technology.”
The solar school program will be implemented on an experimental basis until the end of 2014 and the program sponsors will decide whether to expand the program after monitoring effectiveness.