By 2004, SchoolNet Namibia's core team included 19 young and highly motivated volunteers who managed the roll-out programme on a daily basis, as well as some 300+ volunteers registered for skills development.
The team played out SchoolNet's role (above) by performing actions and offering services which included:
- Management of computer network installation projects on behalf of the Ministries of Education, NGOs, donors and corporates (e.g. CISP, NOLNET).
- Provision and implementation of low cost networking options to schools and educators, using new and refurbished equipment and stable free software including a GNU/Linux distribution, an office suite (OpenOffice.org), educational delivery software and content, a school administration system (SchoolTool) and other resources.
- Provision of affordable, subsidised internet to schools and educators using both landline and wireless solutions (school internet access was free, telecom costs applied at N$ 0.29/unit - 20% less than local exchange calls).
- Technical skills and curriculum development: Polytechnic of Namibia Bridging Course, Resources from Learn.co.uk, The Shuttleworth Foundation, AED LearnLink and RETT (Regional Education Technology Teams) programmes.
Key Areas of Support:
- Establishment of a SchoolNet Internet Service (ISP) with a reduced-cost 0700 national number for dial-up clients, especially for those with remote and poor Telecom infrastructure (e.g. ultra-phones), and a 0800 toll-free number for help-desk and technical support services.
- Provision of low-cost local area computer networks, comprising a free operating system and software applications, using a combination of contemporary and refurbished computers (a normal Microsoft network solution could cost 60-80% more at the time).
- Free installation (by SchoolNet Volunteers) of a local area network, typically one server and 2-3 workstations, UPS, ethernet hub and modem. The system could serve up to 30 workstations.
- Basic training (by SchoolNet Volunteers) in systems administration to a team comprising 4-6 learners and 1-2 teachers.
- On request, the services of a SchoolNet Volunteer to act as troubleshooter and informal trainer at the school for 1 - 8 weeks, in exchange for secure accommodation and food provided by the school.
- Free support, maintenance and helpdesk services by SchoolNet Volunteers.
- Implementation of satellite and other wireless internet solutions, powered by solar electricity, if necessary; funding was secured for solar technology at 167 schools.
- Implementation of broadband data-casting, (porn-free) transparent proxy services, virus-scanning, local web mail and other web-based services.
- Introduction of affordable computers and internet to bona fide educational practitioners. SchoolNet's Section 21 not-for-profit business partner NetDay Namibia provided teachers with an opportunity to buy affordable computers, printers, scanners, digital cameras and software.
Towards the end of the organisation's life cycle there were close to 500 schools that had benefited from the services of SchoolNet Namibia.