By Cathy Shepherd
Intelsat, operator of the world’s largest integrated satellite and terrestrial network, and Mindset Network, a developer and distributor of educational materials in Africa, have formally extended their partnership to ensure students, out-of-school youth, teachers, healthcare professionals and patients across Africa have access to high-quality and free educational television and online content.
This partnership extension comes at a time when nearly 300 million students throughout Africa have been impacted by school closures and other learning disruptions due to the coronavirus, according to UNESCO. Mindset offers an unencrypted channel that allows national broadcasters across Sub-Saharan Africa within Intelsat’s satellite coverage area to downlink and redistribute Mindset’s educational content on their own broadcasting networks.
Intelsat has partnered with Mindset since the nonprofit was founded in 2002, providing free access to satellite capacity and technology to over 1,600 schools and 1,025 healthcare facilities across South Africa.
Mindset Network CEO, Dylan Green praised the partnership “We are incredibly grateful to Intelsat for helping us in our mission, and we are getting closer to Nelson Mandela’s dream to ‘Make every home, every shack or rickety structure a centre of learning.”
The educational resources focus on topics such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, Ebola, child survival, science, mathematics, information technology and English. In addition to the broadcast, and IP streaming and multicasting distribution that Intelsat assists with, Mindset also delivers its educational content through multimedia, DVDs and print materials and their newly launched App.
“Intelsat values its long-standing partnership with Mindset Network, and we look forward to continuing helping deliver Mindset’s important educational resources to students, at-risk-youth and healthcare patients throughout Africa,” said Intelsat Regional Vice President, Africa, Brian Jakins. “With a long history of connecting people, communities and governments across the continent, Intelsat is committed to Africa’s digital transformation.”
A study of the impact that 34 hours of Mindset-created and Intelsat-broadcast educational content had upon students at eight schools in four provinces in one area of South Africa showed a 22 percent increase in student reading comprehension and a 128 percent increase in letter-naming frequency. As part of the study, test schools were given a satellite dish, a television set and a server to host online and print resources. Control schools, located within a five-kilometer radius of test schools, were not given access to those resources during the evaluation period.