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ICT Industry leaders share methods to improve education in the country

Jun 13, 2019
ICT Industry leaders share methods to improve education in the country

Eastern CapeIn an effort to shine the spotlight on issues around collaboration, planning, creativity and the implementation of e-learning infrastructure, the country’s corporate community convened at the E-Learning Summit 2019, currently underway in East London in order to share ways to help improve the standard and quality of education in the country.

Present at the summit, and as part of the delegate assembly, were Vodacom, Broadband Infraco, Microsoft, SITA and Sentech which pledged to not only continue to contribute towards addressing these issues from a financial standpoint, but also continue to provide technological solutions and content that would aid in addressing South Africa’s dire education system.

Executive Chairman for the ICT Summit, Motse Mfuleni said: “We believe the future of our world is now. We also believe that the future is driven by technologically advancements coupled by the 4th industrial revolution.

"Therefore, gatherings on this nature must continue to take place in order to compare notes, share experience with academics, policy makers and private sector. We are excited to have all these key stakeholders under one roof in this imbizo of e-learning ideas."

Speaking during a panel disussion at the Summit, Phumza Dyani, Chief Marketing Officer for Broadband Infraco says: “Of particular importance to the discussion is the involvement of Infraco as a lead agent for SA Connect, which is a government project that aims to deliver widespread broadband access to 90% of the country by 2020 and 100% by 2030.

The move is part of the goals of the National Development Plan that seeks to ensure that South African public institutions are connected and that citizens have access to modern technology and communication tools and have necessary skills for the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The project is driven by the Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services.”

Dyani says: “SA Connect has more than 41 000 sites nationally, including schools, health facilities in both urban and rural areas. To date, we have provided internet access to 313 sites and are currently busy with 400 sites. We estimate that they will be completed before the end of September, before the end of our financial half year.

"The sites are connected at 10MB, upgradeable to 100MB on request. These are clinics and schools. We use this capacity to create Wi-fi hotspots.”

Through platforms such as e-School and m-Education, Vodacom has made a point of maximising the potential of every child through a range of educational solutions.

Vodacom’s m-Education solution has enabled educators improve the classroom experience

Speaking on behalf of Vodacom, Mpumelelo Khumalo, Managing Executive for Eastern Cape Region,said: “Education forms part of the fundamental building blocks of economic growth, and should be the country’s main focal point when developing the various sectors in preparation of the digital era that will be ushered in by the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

"By enabling the transition to digital learning, we can tackle some of the country’s significant challenges around education, and equip our young learners with the capabilities and know-how to succeed in the digital future. As Vodacom, we want ensure that both educators and learners are able to access content using mobile devices when they are away from the school, in a cost-effective way.”

Part of Vodacom’s efforts to address the issue of education in South Africa is driven by the network’s Foundation division, which has donated over R1.2 billion to various education and gender-empowerment programmes through corporate partnerships. With the Department of Basic Education (DBE), Vodacom has connected 3 100 schools to the internet and established 12 schools of excellence, with fully fitted computer centres and upgraded infrastructure.

Additionally, Vodacom’s m-Education solution has enabled educators improve the classroom experience for their students, using rich digitised media content. The platform enables learners to access the same curriculum content and learning materials that the educator uses in the class, by delivering the content via the learners’ smartphones, tablets, digital boards or PC browser.

The E-Learning summit highlights the influence that globalisation has had on digital transformation in all economic sectors, more specifically education. The digitalisation of this sector enables a transition into the e-learning age. Learning tools from as early as foundation phase are deeply entrenched in the use of computers and in more fortunate schools, tablets are used.

The advancement of technology still lacks in giving poverty stricken South Africans the correct platforms to empower themselves using technology. E-learning is currently crippled by difficulties including overcrowded classrooms, lack of support for early childhood development and skilled e-learning teachers in schools.

Image:  Mpumelelo Khumalo, Managing Executive Vodacom Eastern Cape

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