Apple to provide solar-powered iPads for rural schools of Zimbabwe

“The African nation of Zimbabwe has suffered greatly over the past due to the policies of president Robert Mugabe, but there’s a glimmer of hope for the future of the country,” Steven Sande reports for TUAW.

“Apple and the government of Zimbabwe have entered into a joint venture to distribute solar-powered iPads to rural schools in the country,” Sande reports. “The announcement was made by Zimbabwean minister of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture David Coltart, who met with Apple employees in Paris yesterday. In his Facebook post, he noted that he had a “Great meeting with Apple today in Paris — unveiled a fascinating new ‘School Box’ which will take iPads to the most remote rural schools – using solar power and micro projectors we will be able to bring computerized teaching aids to the poorest schools.”

Sande reports, “Coltart mentioned that the first pilot programs could start early in 2012.”

Read more in the full article here.

22 Comments

    1. If you’d like to start a pilot program (using your own disposable income) of free iPads to students at your local ghetto school, I’m sure the students will be very grateful. And you may also send me a free high-end iPad after you get the program in high gear. I’ll personally send you a Thank You note showing my appreciation. You will be truly rewarded for your generosity.

    2. Why? So they can grow up to sit out on Wall Street and covet and complain about all they are entitled to?
      You went to school without an iPad and turned out just fine. So will poor kids. You want to teach kids something? Teach them the difference between “Wants” & “Needs”; “Rights” & “Privileges”.

      * Disclaimer: Bankers are a huge problem. The politicians(all of them), including President Oblama, that voted to give bankers money are JUST AS CORRUPT AS THE BANKERS. Thanks for swinging at the branches though, and have a great day!

    1. Two points:
      1) This is africa. A government person from an african country talking about what they’re “going to do”. The solar panels could be from some other company. The pico projectors certainly are.
      2) I can’t think of a less reliable source for future product capability rumors than government officials (from any continent.)

    2. Seriously. I don’t expect a solar panel to be able to fully operate my iDevices like they did my TI calculator back in the 80s, but still a little solar panel to add extra juice and extend my battery life in addition to built-in inductive charging capabilities are additions Apple should have already added.

  1. As long as no money is involved there won’t be any skimming, though there’s no guarantee these Lunchbox kits won’t be sold. Someone check ebay or craigslist

  2. I hope someone has budgeted for the “import taxes” (bribes) when it is time to bring the stuff into the country. The only kids this will help are the kids of the government officials.

  3. Again some who choose to comment on MDN show a total lack of the ability to do research or to even think.

    This is NOT AN APPLE program. It is under the auspices of a UN agency. Have you heard of it? UNICEF?

    A NGO that is a non profit is buying the iPads to replace Windows Laptops that were too power hungry. They often just sat doing nothing and so got stolen due to lack of interest and power.

    The iPad power requirements are minimal and do not need a solar array the size of a school bus to power it but a simple desktop array will charge it in seven hours.

    The iPads, solar power, and old-time books all fit in the School in a Box. wheel on of those suckers in and you are good to go if you are teaching in a third world rural area with no power.

    India is also another big user of School in a Box.

    School in a Box is funded by grants from businesses and groups like the Lions Club.

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