Noah Samara Says Wants to Make a Proposal to Help the
Transformation of Ethiopian Education
The founder and Chairman of WorldSpace, Noah Samara said this week that he wants to make a proposal to the Ethiopian
government to help the transformation of Ethiopian education. Speaking to journalists on Monday, Noah Samara said a pilot
study conducted in Kenya showed that the use of WorldSpace technology for classroom teaching has been successful.
He said WorldSpace receivers are now being used in India, Pakistan and Kenya for classroom teaching and has so far been
found successful. 30,000 receivers have been distributed in the first phase in Kenya to teach about 11 million students putting
one receiver in one school, he said.
The new educational system developed by WorldSpace using a WorldSpace receiver and a computer costs 3000 dollars, and
as demonstrated on the occasion, the system has a remarkable power to change the entire teaching-learning activities in schools making it more interactive and participatory. But the challenge for the WordSpace chairman is to convince African leaders and policy makers to use this new educational system and the WorldSpace receivers in their schools. “ This thing is brilliant,” said Noah pointing his finger to the new educational system during the presentation at the Addis Ababa Hilton.
This week he also made a presentation of the WorldSpace technology to Ethiopian government officials that included Foreign
Minister Seyoum Mesfin and Education Minister Genet Zewde. According to Tsegahiwot Berhanu, regional sales coordinator,
the officials were “impressed” by WorldSpace.
WorldSpace was established in 1990 by 30 shareholders and the company has launched two satellites called AsiaStar and
AfriStar to beam educational and entertainment programs that could be received by WorldSpace specially designed receivers.
The receivers can also be connected to computers to receive data and texts without telephone lines. Preparations are being
made to launch the third satellite called AmeriStar.
Although the plan was to sell one million receivers in the year 2001, the company has so far sold 150,000 receivers. A
WorldSpace receiver used to costs up to 200 dollars. But the new generation of receivers that can now be found in local
dealers in town cost 700 birr.
Noah declined to disclose the amount of capital WorldSpace has but confirmed that one of the shareholders, Shiek
Mohammed Hussien Al-Amoudi has withdrawn his share.
Noah is now negotiating with Radio Ethiopia to enable the latter to uplink its programs to WorldSpace satellites to reach
millions of listeners across the world.
Noah Samara maintains that the problem of Africa is “the lack of information and organization” and the most important thing for
him is “getting information at the right time, to the right people, at the right place.”
“If there is a computer that can give a solution to all questions of the problems of Africa,” Noah said, “the solution would be
WorldSpace.” He said worldSpace has even many capabilities to implement NePAD.