SWAY4Edu2 - Satellite way for education 2

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Objectives of the service

SWAY4Edu2 is a spin-off of Sway4edu (click HERE to be re-directed to the Sway4edu project web-page) and it aims at pursuing the following objectives: 

1.     Realisation of an additional cluster of 12 satcom-enabled schools in the rural area of Mpumalanga in South Africa and 1 school (3 classes, about 75 students) in a rural area of the Basilicata Region (Italy) for the development of competences in IT and in the preservation of the natural environment. The main objectives can be summarised as follows: 
  • Assist rural children and teachers to be more techno savvy and become aware of the benefits that information and communication technologies bring with them
  • Develop awareness amongst local youth, as well as amongst the wider community members, of the importance of preserving their local wildlife heritage and to adopt a more sustainable approach to daily living. This is crucial for Singita and SA government to keep tourism, the local communities and the conservation of the environment in harmonised balance
  • Implement and validate a set of pilot edutainment services (e.g. small digital cinema in the classrooms, radio channels) to foster awareness and facilitate the utilisation of the system by the local communities
  • Creating "twinning" activities between the South African schools and the Italian school to exchange educational, cultural and linguistic experiences
  • Develop a partnership with the European and South African industry and partners to establish a scalable and sustainable service to meet the above objectives on a wider deployment scale 
2.   Realisation of an additional  cluster of  20 satcom-enabled radio stations in the rural area of the Democratic Republic of Congo in order to: : 
  • Expand the current network of rural radio stations deployed in Sway4edu with additional 20 pilot sites to promote the “cloud” service, which allows radios to generate their own radio programmes and to share them online with the other radios, enabling collaborative post-production of the content before final FM broadcasting to the local communities.
  • Develop added value applications for the rural radios via podcasting in order to support the access to stored audio content associated to local adverts via WiFi points of presence
  • Develop a partnership with FAO, the European industry and DRC partners to establish a scalable and sustainable service to meet the above objectives on a wider deployment scale 
3.   Realisation of an Outcomes Assessment System which will be developed and utilised to efficiently monitor (i.e. from Europe but also from local sites) and in near-real-time: : 
  • The utilisation figures of the end-users (e.g. completed courses, volume of traffic over Internet, access to the different applications) at each pilot site. 
  • The technical operational status of key hardware devices   (e.g. satellite terminals, power supply units, PCs, tablets) at each pilot site.

Product Benefits

As similarly done within the Sway4edu project activities, via the Openet Training Platform, Openet aims at aggregating additional typologies of capacity building activities in order to consolidate its position as service provider in the African continent.

Product Features

The system architecture of Sway4edu2 is based on the Sat3play platform with satellite Internet connectivity provided by SBBS on A4A satellite.
The pilot sites are connected to Internet and to the Openet eLearning platform (www.openetlearning.net) via small satellite terminals (0.75m dishes in Italy and 1.2m meter dishes in Africa countries). 
Pilot users get access to the services via standard laptops and tablets and can share lessons in classrooms via a projector and a screen.
The raw content is sent (e.g. via FTP) to Openet by the content providers. Openet adapts it and makes it available online to all pilot users via its eLearning platform.
If needed, large volume content (e.g. files bigger than 100 MBytes) can be directly multicast to all pilot sites during nights.
Figure 1 - Typical main network architecture

Key Issues

The project implementation requires a very active and committed involvement of all local partners and stakeholders, who have to take the ownership of all the activities required on their side. 

The effective participation of pilot users to the eLearning activities represents de-facto the most important challenge. During the previous experience of Sway4du, the very low ICT skills and the lack of time of the pilot users was the biggest barrier that had to be overcome to achieve satisfactory results and pave the way for important commercial results. 

This key-issue is mitigated by the selection of highly motivated end-users, local ICT trainers and by the development of the Outcomes Assessment System, which will allow the European consortium and the local stakeholders to easily and quickly monitor the user participation over time and against possible technical impediments. This will also allow to take prompt and effective countermeasures against non-satisfactory utilisation patterns.

Current Status

The Final Review was successfully achieved on 14th Dec 2017, pending the completion of the Contract Closure Documentation, which has been delivered and it is now with ESA for final approval. 

The project has achieved remarkable social and commercial results along the following two main project elements: a) Space4edu in South Africa to teach teachers and students in rural areas in South Africa. The pilot activities with the 19 rural schools in South Africa have provided excellent results both in terms of utilisation by the schools and technical reliability. All the partners and stakeholders agree that the selected satcom technology and the overall service model used has proven to be reliable, easy to use and cost effective. The motivation, commitment and strong ownership of all the local partners has been key: not a single item got stolen or damaged! Singita (SA) has already paid to the service provider Openet a service fee for the internet connectivity and access to the eLearning platform covering the period Nov2017-Jan2018. Negotiations are on-going to involve also the Department of Education of Mpumalanga (SA) to extend the service subscriptions on yearly basis; b) Radio broadcast stations in rural areas of the Democratic Republic of Congo to teach journalists and support the creation of ad-hoc radio programs in favour of capacity building and food security. The pilot stage in 20 rural radios of DRC was also successfully concluded with all 70 subscribed journalists who have completed all the eLearning modules. Commercial service subscriptions for about 20 radios in DRC are being investigated


Status Date

Updated: 14 December 2017 - Created: 14 July 2015