Vodacom to transform teaching in the Northern Cape through technology
Vodacom, in partnership with the National Department of Basic Education, has launched the Northern Cape chapter of the Vodacom Mobile Education Programme in Upington today. This programme is set to transform teaching in the classroom through the use of technology.
The Centre is part of Vodacom's Mobile Education Programme and is expected to train 1 400 teachers from 172 schools annually in the Northern Cape region. Teachers will be trained in the use of technology and will have access to curriculum content and teacher aids through cloud computing which is an internet based warehouse of educational content.
"This initiative focuses on teacher development, one of the most critical elements in the education value chain. It also offers a model whereby South Africa can advance in the area of education through the effective use of communications technology," says Maya Makanjee, chief officer corporate affairs at Vodacom.
In addition, 20 schools have been identified by the Northern Cape Department of Education to focus mainly on improving maths and science subjects in the area. At least 80 teachers will receive critical training annually in these subjects and each of the identified schools will receive a laptop with free internet, a multimedia projector and an interactive board.
Launched in October last year, the Vodacom Mobile Education Programme was developed to help the Department of Basic Education meet its goal of exposing learners to ICT and to give teachers access to quality teaching resources. The Upington Centre is one of nine established in each province.
"Information and communications technology offer the opportunity to level the playing field for teachers who previously had limited or no access to technology. Interventions such as these are not only expected to improve learner pass rates for mathematics and science in the province, but are also expected to ensure that learners pursue these subjects at tertiary level," says Makanjee.
The Centre is connected to Vodacom's head office in Midrand through a Virtual Private Network (VPN). This serves as a pipeline for information that connects and delivers content to participating schools and teachers and provides a platform for creating a community of teachers who could communicate as well as share ideas and resources.
"As government we are encouraged when the private sector contributes to improving our education system. We are humbled by Vodacom's commitment to teacher development in the region which will go a long way to ensuring technology is accessible in our schools. Education is a societal issue and all stakeholders need to take part in bringing about a fully functional education system that is also advanced in terms of technology," says MEC Grizelda Cjiekella.
The schools, buildings and teachers have been identified by the Northern Cape Department of Education while all the technology elements are supplied by Vodacom.
The Upington Centre has been fully equipped with a computer room housing 50 computer terminals, educational aids, internet connectivity and training facilities. The community of Upington will also have access to the Centre for free internet and online e-learning.
Vodacom has committed to supply content hosting and free internet connectivity for the next three years. Connectivity includes the establishment of a controlled gateway to the internet for each province. This will allow for easy communication among the teachers.
Leading e-learning service providers, Microsoft, Cisco and Mindset, have partnered with Vodacom to provide the centres with software, programme content, certification and training, and educational curriculum content. These digital educational resources are hosted on the website: http://www.digitalclassroom.co.za/
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