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The Ponelopele Oracle Secondary School in Kaalfontein, a low-income community in South Africa, was initially established and funded by Oracle in partnership with the community in 2006. Later, a nationwide educational program took over funding of the school, though Oracle continues to support the school’s educational efforts.
The school has 40 teachers and 10 staff members, serving 1,200 pupils. The pupils study subjects, including English, accounting, business management, science, mathematics, and liberal arts. Eighty-seven pupils, aged 13 to 17, currently take classes in computer technology (including hardware, software, and basic IT skills).
The students originally shared PCs that were neither networked nor connected to the internet, requiring teachers to collect schoolwork from each machine, individually. The computers were also subject to frequent malware attacks because of viruses brought in on memory sticks. Because the machines were shared, students frequently deleted the work of other classmates, inadvertently.
With the introduction of Oracle Virtual Desktop Infrastructure, Oracle Virtual Desktop Client, and a Sun Fire X4170 M2 server, students can now access their own secure folders, and teachers can conveniently access students’ schoolwork without risking malware infections.
“The Ponelopele Oracle Secondary School is committed to Oracle, not only because Oracle founded and supports our operations, but also because Oracle Virtual Desktop Infrastructure was the perfect tool to deploy a connected, secure desktop environment without changing our hardware,” said Khaya Makhubeka, head of department, Ponelopele Oracle Secondary School. “Before the implementation, our teachers spent hours collecting students’ work off of PCs that were frequently infected with viruses. Now the data is secured and collected through networked computers, enabling us to concentrate on educational results.”
In 2011, Oracle partner SCS Africa installed Sun Fire X4170 M2 and the Oracle Virtual Desktop Infrastructure. It also created the software that enabled the newly interconnected PCs to access the school’s Windows applications. The Oracle partner next trained interns to deploy the software, and also set up the secure folders for the students to store their schoolwork.
SCS Africa was instrumental in the implementation of the Oracle Virtual Desktop Infrastructure solution and subsequent support. It developed Sunflower software, based on Oracle Sun Ray software, which allows pupils to have access to secure, individual folders. It also developed a Sun Ray Connector for Windows, so that students and teachers can access Windows applications. It also trained teachers on how to use the system.
“Sometimes students accidentally deleted other classmates’ work, which was very frustrating for our pupils. Once SCS Africa customized the Oracle Sun Ray software so that each student could have secure access to their own work, that problem was eliminated,” Makhubeka said.