HISPASAT, the Spanish operator and satellite solutions and services provider of the Red Eléctrica Group, has provided the government of Panama a pilot tele-education project that it has implemented in the Plan de Chorcha Educational Center, located in Ngäbe-Buglé, one of the country’s most mountainous regions.
The presentation ceremony of this pilot project took place yesterday in this school, which has more than 400 students enrolled, and the event featured the president of the Republic of Panama, Laurentino Cortizo, the minister of Education, Maruja Gorday de Villalobos, the director of the National Authority for Governmental Innovation (AIG), Luis Oliva, the ambassador of Spain to Panama, Francisco Javier Pagalday, and the CEO of HISPASAT, Miguel Ángel Panduro.
Specifically, HISPASAT has donated a satellite internet service to the school with a tele-education system that allows educational contents provided by the Ministry of Education to be sent and stored locally. This way, students can download the material on their devices and work with them at home. HISPASAT will also set up a Wi-Fi connectivity service for the community, apart from the one at the school, which will allow the rest of the residents to connect, allowing the entire rural community to access the Information Society.
The pilot is complemented with two technology classrooms. These classrooms include laptops for the teachers, tablets for the students, a cabinet to store and charge the devices, an interactive digital screen and a technology classroom management program with logical security. The operator will also provide training for teachers on how to handle these digital devices.
For Francisco Javier Pagalday, the ambassador of Spain to Panama, “This project is a clear example of the enormous value that Spanish companies can contribute to the development of Panamanian society. We believe that the satellite solution offered today in this school has great potential to not leave rural communities in the country behind.”
Miguel Ángel Panduro, CEO of HISPASAT, indicated that “we’ve been working for years on providing stability to Latin American society using satellite internet access, especially in its rural and disconnected areas. That’s why we’re so happy to contribute today with this pilot to improving education in this school in Emplanada de Chorcha and we’re making ourselves available to the Panamanian government to collaborate on new initiatives that help to bridge the digital divide in the country.”
Connectivity is a fundamental tool to promote equal societal development. However, the differences in the infrastructure rollout between the urban and rural world are a major obstacle that prevent most remote and spread-out towns from having the same opportunities as large cities in basic rights such as education. Regarding Panama, according to a report from 2020 by the Inter-American Development Bank, 63.6% of the country’s urban homes have internet access, compared to just 27.3% of rural homes. Therefore, the use of satellite technology, which offers universal coverage regardless of the location with a quick and simple rollout, is the ideal tool to extend high-quality connectivity throughout the region immediately and efficiently to provide fundamental services like the one provided in this pilot project.