SchoolNet Africa (SNA), in partnership with the Global eSchools and Communities Initiative (GESCI) – founded by the UN ICT Task Force, the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA) and the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) will host an international workshop on the Campaign for 1 Million PCs for African Schools in Johannesburg, South Africa on 13 and 14 October 2004.

Senior representatives from the private, civil society and public sectors will attend the workshop. Schoolnet practitioners and representatives of ministries of education from 11 African countries will be present as well as representatives from organizations like Free Geek Inc, Computer Aid International, Shuttleworth Foundation, SchoolNet South Africa, NEPAD eSchools, the Dutch and Finnish Embassy, Ungana Afrika, Direqlearn, Microsoft, DFID’s CATIA Programme and HP.

The International Workshop was called to discuss a full end-to-end implementation plan for the Campaign for 1 Million PCs for African Schools. This plan will include how best to source PCs, build capacity , establish targeted refurbishment centers as education solutiono providers and dispose of end-of-life PC’s in environmentally-responsible ways.

The Workshop will review the most recent research findings on total cost of ownership, case studies and African schoolnet experiences with imported second-hand PCs which have been commissioned by a range of donor and development agencies such as the IDRC, the IICD, the Commonwealth of Learning and the DFID’s CATIA Programme,. These research findings highlight a number of critical conceptual issues for debate and will provide guidance to the planning process.

A crucial part of the conference however, will focus on how SchoolNet Africa and its Campaign partners could reach the target of securing the first 200 000 PCs to reach an estimated 20 000 African schools in 15 countries; how it will reach the target of training 200 African schoolnet practitioners (of which 40% will be women) and the establishment of 10 Technical Service Centres over the next two years.