Facebook pilot SocialEDU is designed to bring education to Rwandese students through the internet. Nokia will supply hardware to be used in the project with Airtel Rwanda offering subsidised data rates, the Rwandan government is also a partner in the project. The classes will be run over edX, a massively open online courses (MOOCs) platform. Facebook is piloting SocialEDU as part of the Internet.org project and they will be creating the application to be used for online classes, this app will be part of the Facebook platform and therefore students are required to sign up into Facebook in order to join the program.
“We know we have a long way to go to provide access to the two-thirds of the world that doesn’t have it today,” Facebook said in a statement. “Rwanda is our first test of this approach, and our hope is that this will serve as a blueprint for other partnerships to follow.”
Globally there has been strong interest in MOOCs and the ability of the internet to make a lot of information easily accessible. A large part of the African population does not have access to broadband internet. Internet.org is working to bring internet access to Africa by exploiting the continent’s growth in mobile communications. It is expected that after the pilot, Facebook will expand its MOOCs project to other countries on the continent.