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UK space tech transforms education for students in Africa

ACCESS: Schools in Tanzania

DUE TO poor internet coverage, teachers in remote schools previously had to travel long distances to access educational material. But now, thanks to a project launched in 2015 led by British satellite operator Avanti Communications, students in Tanzania have easier access to the internet.

The iKnowledge project supported by the UK Space Agency, aimed to equip rural areas with satellite internet to improve education in Tanzania and develop innovation and technology in the UK.

The project has now completed its first phase of funding and the next step is to leverage the robust iKnowledge infrastructure for new educational projects to scale up.

Dr Graham Turnock, Chief Executive at the UK Space Agency said: “By providing teachers with the skills and capability to adopt new technology, we are making a practical and significant difference to the lives of children in rural Tanzania whilst encouraging innovation and growth back in the UK.

Graham Peters, Managing Director of Government Solutions at Avanti added: “Technology and internet access can transform teaching and learning in schools by providing teachers and students with access to a huge range of educational resources that are normally unavailable to rural African schools.

“High speed internet by satellite can make every school a digital school and enable school children to become digital citizens no matter where they live.”

A few selected iKnowledge schools have been installed with Wi-Fi Hotspots to give schools the flexibility to buy internet only when they need and without the monthly internet subscription commitment. When not in use by schools, the system can be used by the local community.

iKnowledge was one of the first projects to be awarded through the UK Space Agency’s International Partnership Programme (IPP) in 2015. IPP is a five-year, £152 million programme designed to partner UK space expertise with overseas governments and organisations.

It is funded through UK aid from the department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s Global Challenges Research Fund. GCRF is a £1.5 billion fund which forms part of the UK Government’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) commitment.

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