Acer steps up southern African education agenda
Acer for Education is stepping up its activity in southern Africa, with new education devices being launched, a growing content partnership programme, and plans to extend its partner network into more southern African countries.
Speaking at a media round table in Johannesburg, South Africa, today, Acer Education lead Marius le Grange noted that education – particularly in southern Africa – was a specialised field with its own unique challenges. “The cost of devices, lack of infrastructure, and internet access and cost, are among the biggest challenges faced in taking ICT into education in this region,” he says.
With education a key focus area for Acer, the computing giant has a dedicated Education division, working with channel and content partners around the world to devise appropriate solutions for the education arena. In southern Africa, Acer for Education goes to market through 15 specialised resellers in South Africa and five in Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Mauritius. Talks are underway to add channel partners in Mozambique and Angola before the end of the year.
Le Grange notes that Acer’s portfolio of education solutions encompasses classroom management software, educational content and advanced yet affordable devices, delivered in partnership with software and content partners and educational institutions. However, because there are limits to how low the cost of devices can go while still remaining good quality, le Grange says Acer focuses on adding value to its solutions to make them appropriate for educational use. These value adds include free software and training for teachers, he says.
Acer for Education solutions encompass tablets, laptops, desktops, projectors, smartboards and thin client solutions. In a pilot project at Mary Mount School in Rashinga, Zimbabwe, Acer has also installed an e-learning centre powered by a diesel generator, which now serves the entire community well into the night. Other pilots are set to take ICT centres by rail across South Africa, and to support tertiary students conducting research in remote locations.