The pandemic has accelerated changes that were already occurring in education. A proof of this is the study conducted by the Global Learmer Survey and Pearson, which found that 67% of Brazilian university students started valuing education more after Covid-19. Although it is a challenging time, it is indisputable that technology was a determinant factor for this development and the change in the behavior of these students.
In the face of this new scenario and always aiming to benefit the research and education institutions in the entire country, the city of Ponta Grossa, in Paraná, was chosen as the 1st one for the start of the Community Networks for Education and Research Program (RedeComep) in 2021. The initiative, coordinated by the National Education and Research Network (RNP), provides for the deployment of high-speed networks in the region, connecting the State University of Ponta Grossa (UEPG), the University Hospital of UEPG (HU-UEPG), Federal Technology University of Paraná (UTFPR), and the City Hall of Ponta Grossa to approximately 800 Institutions of Higher Education and research centers in the entire country.
In total, the Metropolitan Network of Ponta Grossa will have 12 sites throughout the city, 48 km of network length, and 20 Gbps (10+10) of bandwidth capacity for each connected point.
"The main characteristic of the network is to provide high-speed connectivity between the participating institutions and its various units. This high data transmission capacity may enable new applications in education, research, and extension, in addition to the expansion of the cooperation between the participating institutions," says Luiz Gustavo Barros, director of the Center for Information Technology in UEPG and coordinator of the Ponta Grossa Network.
The great advantage of Redecomep is the possibility of using a high-performance cyberinfrastructure for experimentation and research, in addition to guaranteeing the operation of advanced services of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). The already deployed networks have over 540 partner institutions. The total coverage of the set of networks already exceeded a total of 3.5 thousand km. Currently, 43 optical networks are deployed - most in full operation, including 27 networks in capitals and in the Federal District and 16 in municipalities in the interior.
"The National Research Network is a great advance for the region of Ponta Grossa, particularly, in this moment of the pandemic, because we can provide quality access and increase accessibility, which today means to democratize education, research, and extension," explains Miguel Sanches Neto, dean of the State University of Ponta Grossa.
The launch, which will take place on 16 June at 10:00, will be broadcast online (https://conferenciaweb.rnp.br/webconf/rrm) and will be attended by the Dean of the State University of Ponta Grossa, Miguel Sanches Neto; the Superintendent of Science, Technology, and Higher Education of the state of Paraná, Aldo Nelson Bona; the President of the Paranaense Association of Institutions of Public Higher Education (APIESP), Fatima Aparecida da Cruz Padoan (Dean of the State University of Northern Paraná), and the Director-General of the National Education and Research Network (RNP), Nelson Simões.
"To have the city of Ponta Grossa be part of RedeComep, without a doubt, brings great gains to the academic community as a whole. We are very pleased with the progress that we are making, increasingly improving the connection between educational institutions in the entire country, particularly in countryside cities and metropolitan regions, where access is often still difficult. We know that this support is essential for collaborative scientific projects and research, which are directly linked to the development of our country," concludes the associate director of Institutional Relations of RNP, Gorgonio Araújo.
"With this high-speed network, Ponta Grossa is definitively on a new level. Our administration is based on innovation and support for the development of new technologies. We think that It is emblematic that this first launch will happen during this administration and moment, when we opened the doors to proprietary technology integration programs, adopted the Paperless Government, we are promoting the most innovative change in terms of smart management. The partnership with the federal government and the participating institutions is a very clear indication of our perspective: only knowledge can take us to an optimum level of development", stresses Elizabeth Schmidt, mayor of Ponta Grossa.