About the Project
The Distance Learning in the Amazon Forest project was launched in 2007 by the Secretariat of Education and Learning Quality of Amazonas State. Amazonas is the largest state in Brazil with a population of 3.3 million inhabitants, half of whom live in the capital, Manaus. Ninety-two percent of its area is covered by the Amazon Forest and the rivers of the Amazon basin. The population from the hinterland of the state is spread out across small towns and villages, mostly accessible after a 21-day trip by boat via rivers.
The project involves transmitting live classes given by teachers, from three studios located at the main office of the Secretariat of Education in Manaus, via a two-way video-conference link to 35,000 students in 300 secondary schools and 700 classrooms, throughout the 62 county districts. A teacher is also located at each classroom to support local activities. The technology kit in each classroom comprises a satellite antenna linked to a satellite router, a radio transmitter, a computer, a printer, a web camera, a microphone, a VoIP phone, a no-break power supply, a 37” LCD television and Internet connection.
The project addresses an urgent social need and was therefore carefully devised with a view to fostering the participation of all students and teachers, allowing the integration of different cultures - often thousands of kilometres apart – and building a sense of belonging and a real group identity.
To this end, the two stakeholders have made available virtual synchronous classrooms, a support and technical assistance reachable round the clock, seven days a week, and a team of 900 teachers trained to work within this new educational format. As a result of this initiative, Amazonas State has greatly increased the breadth of education, allowing effective, low-cost, large-scale and constant provision of high-quality secondary-level courses.
The project is highly flexible and can be used for education projects at any level. It is spreading to other states in Brazil and the plan is now to transmit primary-level content.
Featured partners and stakeholders:
The Secretariat of Education and Learning Quality of Amazonas State - responsible for the planning and coordination of the whole project, Hughes Brazil - in charge of all technical and maintenance aspects.