SchoolNet Africa emerged out of the growing schoolnet initiatives in Africa. Since its inception, SchoolNet Africa has formed a network with national schoolnets and practitioners operating in up to 30 African countries keen on promoting learning through ICTs in their local schools. The story of schoolnets in Africa is a tale of a pioneering attempt to apply new information and communication technologies (ICTs) to resource-poor environments as a means to enhance development in general and education access and quality in particular, as part of a broader agenda to bridge the much-vaunted 'digital divide'.
'School networking' emerged in Canada and Europe where the first schoolnet formations were set up in the 1980s and early 1990s. At the heart of the schoolnet process lies a revolutionary transformation in the way learning and teaching happens. Whilst some schoolnets like the Western Cape Schools Network, can date their activities as far back as 1990, many schoolnets took root in Africa and mushroomed across the continent in the later 1990s. And it is essentially a movement that began as modalities of community access to ICTs.
The term 'schoolnets' is a catch-all phrase for organizations and groups both informal and formal involved in promoting education through the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in African schools. Many schoolnets that have been formed in Africa to date, operate at a national level. They assume various organizational forms and models. Essentially schoolnets in Africa assume the role of 'change agents' in their attempt at catalysing educational reform and transformation towards improved access and quality to education through the application of ICTs. Whilst many assume the form of non-government organnisations, a growing number of schoolnets are based in ministries of education, thereby reflecting the beginnings of changes in the education systems at national level.
School Networking Initiatives and School Based Telecenters
This draft report provides a brief overview of school networking or “schoolnet” initiatives and background information on community telecenters, particularly those located in educational institutions, notably school-based telecenters Based on further analysis of country-specific data, a final section has been provided with extension of these models to the Ethiopian country context.