Your IT trash could be someone’s treasure

Press Release – University of Canterbury

A University of Canterbury/Rotary International-led development project aiming to bring power and technological capacity to Tongan high schools faces just one obstacle before its pilot phase can start.Your IT trash could be someone’s treasure

A University of Canterbury/Rotary International-led development project aiming to bring power and technological capacity to Tongan high schools faces just one obstacle before its pilot phase can start.

The only thing the project team needs now to make its vision a reality is the donation of 50 computers for the schools.

UC researchers are involved with Rotary International (RNZWCS) and EcoCARE Pacific Trust in a major collaborative three-phase project, which has been funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) through its Sustainable Development Fund (SDF).

The initial pilot phase implementation, which will introduce 8kW of renewable solar power systems and 10 computers into each of five Tongan high schools on the main island of Tongatapu, is set to start in mid-December.

In conjunction with installing the solar technology and computers, a related project involves funding the installation of low-cost, high band width wireless technologies to link the five schools with audiovisual communication systems.

CEO of the EcoCARE Pacific Trust that is coordinating the pilot, UC’s Russell Taylor, said he had hoped to source the computers locally but due to the Christchurch earthquakes many local businesses and organisations were not looking to upgrade IT infrastructure at present.

He is calling on individuals or businesses that have PCs that are between three to five-years-old, networked and preferably flat-screen they are willing to donate to get in touch as soon as possible.

“Businesses, organisations and individuals have a great opportunity to do an amazing thing for the children of Tonga, and it would be a shame to be held up because we didn’t get our hands on 50 computers,” said Mr Taylor.

“Many organisations write off their computers after a few years, but the schools involved in this project would be overjoyed to receive them. This is a chance for New Zealand companies to donate what might be no longer of use to them and really change someone else’s education and learning.

“This could be a new version of the corporate Christmas gift to help provide real tools for learning for our Pacific cousins.”

The Tongan Deputy Prime Minister, the Hon. Samiu Vaipulu, said the Government of Tonga “is very supportive of this project and excited about its potential to contribute positively to the learning environment in our schools”.

“We look forward to the roll out of the project over the coming months.”

The ultimate goal of the phased project is national installation of the solar PV systems and computers throughout all of the high schools in Tonga – which is about 36 schools on 21 different islands. The initial pilot phase will involve collaborations between Rotary New Zealand, EcoCARE Pacific Trust, UC’s College of Engineering, Electric Power Engineering Centre (EPECentre) and Engineers without Borders, Tonga Ministry of Education, Tonga Power Limited, Tonga Community Development Trust, and the Government and people of Tonga.

To find out more about the project see our earlier release at: http://www.comsdev.canterbury.ac.nz/rss/news/indexphp?feed=news&articleId=229

If you are keen to donate please get in touch with Russell Taylor at russell.taylor@canterburyac.nz.
ENDS

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