Pick \'n Pay opens up network to open source computer labs

By   |  February 14, 2005

Major corporations such as Pick ‘n Pay typically run networks that allow for fast and efficient Internet and email access, allowing huge amounts of information to flow in and out of the organisation. But when employees go home at the end of the day these vast resources sit unused and underutilised. Now Pick \’n Pay has decided to put these extra resources to good use and connect the more than 80 school laboratories established by the tuXlabs programme to the Internet. The company is also donating equipment to make the needed connections possible, bringing the estimated bandwidth donation to around R1 million.

The retail giant has agreed to open up its network to learners in the Shuttleworth Foundation\’s tuXlab programme. Learners will be able to send and receive email during the day and surf the Internet at night.

The donation will allow all 83 established schools – and an additional 17 – to be connected to the Internet using wireless connections. The learners and educators will be able to log onto Pick and Pay\’s network, send e-mail during the day and browse the Internet after 7pm at night.

The Shuttleworth Foundation’s tuXlab project was launched in 2002 and has since provided 83 schools in disadvantaged areas in the Western Cape with open source computer labs.

\”The gift of bandwidth to schools is an extraordinary contribution to the education of every single learner at a participating school,\” said Mark Shuttleworth. \”Bandwidth is the lifeblood of the information economy. Bandwidth turns a room full of computers into a 21st century library – an almost limitless window on knowledge around the world.\”

Jonathan Ackerman, Marketing Director of Pick ‘n Pay said \”for most of us, Internet connectivity has become a lifestyle necessity. Gone are the days of simply using the Internet to communicate, we now use it in almost every conceivable way to make our daily lives faster and easier. Despite this phenomenal growth, the education sector still lags behind in adopting this valuable education resource, primarily because of high entry levels.\”

According to Vicki Shaw, CEO of the Shuttleworth Foundation, the only way to overcome the huge challenges educational institutions in this country still face is through partnerships. \”We cannot overcome these challenges working in isolation,\” she says. \”It is for this reason that the Shuttleworth Foundation places such importance on working with the Department of Education, other non-profit organisations and corporates to overcome these hurdles. Partnerships give several organisations the opportunity to unite in achieving their shared goals and focus on one problem in a consistent and cohesive manner. \”

Shuttleworth said that pupils who take advantage of this gift will find they are suddenly on an equal footing with their competitors and peers in every country in the world. \”This is an opportunity to research and to learn, to lay the foundations of their careers, and to make sure their dreams are not limited to the world in which they have grown up, but are defined only by their drive and imagination.\”

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