The Case of SchoolNet Namibia/Operations/Activities/Support
As mentioned above, SchoolNet formulated a strategy to minimise the costs of internet connectivity, making it affordable across the education sector in Namibia. This strategy resulted in a standard flat-rate 24/7 internet access solution of N$300/month for schools, and free dial-on-demand internet access for educators, using SchoolNet’s national 0700 number with reduced telecom charges; recall that a one-hour telephone-based internet call, anywhere in Namibia, then cost N$18. The flat-rate internet service also ensured that school clients received technical service and training support from SchoolNet technicians and volunteers for free. Coupled with a national toll-free (0800) helpdesk number, SchoolNet’s technical helpdesk service was unique in Africa.
SchoolNet’s toll-free telephonic help desk services, augmented with a locally developed copyleft help-desk tracking database, significantly improved SchoolNet’s operational capacity for troubleshooting, technical service and repair services.
The database proved to be a powerful monitoring and evaluation tool of the impact of ICTs on the education sector. SchoolNet had a large Namibian technical volunteer pool (e.g. 73 young Namibians were on the books in 2005/6 at the peak of its activity - and many more were trained thereafter).
SchoolNet also provided support (help desk, toll-free telephonic support, and roving trainers and technicians).