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Vodacom Group

Vodacom Foundation, Google partnership to accelerate Africa’s digital skills development

Monday, 7 October 2019

JOHANNESBURG – Vodacom continues to step up its education portfolio in order to benefit young people in South Africa. This is part of the company’s resolve to not leave anybody behind as the world embraces the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR). To this end, the Vodacom Foundation has partnered with Google to accelerate the empowerment of youth in South Africa with some of the digital skills required for 4IR. The partnership will help to address some of the anxiety that the youth have on the impact of 4IR on society, especially future jobs.

The collaboration between Vodacom Foundation and Google through its Grow with Google programme will connect community members to Vodacom Foundation’s 92 teacher centers (technology hubs), which will now include Google’s resources and skills development programmes. Vodacom teacher centers serve as ICT District hubs that ensure continuous training for teachers, learners, unemployed youth and community members.

Takalani Netshitenzhe, Chief Officer: Corporate Affairs for Vodacom Group commented: “South Africa is at the dawning of a digital revolution that will reshape the way we work, the way we live and the way we relate to each other. This Fourth Industrial Revolution is characterised by a range of new technologies that are fusing the physical, digital and biological worlds, impacting all disciplines, economies and industries, and even challenging ideas about what it means to be human.”

“Given where South Africa finds itself right now, there is a pressing need to forge increasingly meaningful partnerships to deepen and accelerate the impact of our collective programs and help to move South Africa forward. This collaboration with Google will offer transformative benefits for people, connecting them to digital channels to access education platforms, skills and employment opportunities as well as support their good health and wellbeing. It will also assist Vodacom’s purpose of connecting the next 100 million people in Africa to a better future by 2025.”

Grow with Google is an initiative to help people obtain the digital skills they need to find a job. Course programmes are tailored for job seekers and students, teachers, small business owners, developers and start-ups. Over three million people have been trained through the programme to date, as part of its contribution to growing the digital economy. With an expected half a billion internet users by 2020, Google realises that there are huge opportunities for the next generation, African businesses and digital entrepreneurs.

Asha Patel, Head of Marketing at Google South Africa says, “If our youth have the right skills, they are prepared for future jobs, can build businesses, create jobs and boost economic growth across the continent. We aim to equip millions of South Africans with digital skills and tools to help them build an online presence, create content, understand web design and user experience, social media and app development. It is through this collaboration with Vodacom Foundation that this goal can be achieved.”

The Grow with Google programme will offer qualified resources to provide the following:

  • Digital skills training, at dedicated Vodacom Foundation Teacher Centre training venues
  • CS-First (coding for beginners)
  • Web Rangers (Internet safety)

For nearly two decades, the Vodacom Foundation has been contributing to societal development by promoting education, health as well as safety and security initiatives. To drive sustainable development in South Africa, the Foundation has partnered with reputable organisations since 1999 to grant over R1.2 billion towards various programmes.

The Foundation’s responsibility is to utilise our innovative mobile technology in enabling social change. Not only will these technological advancements usher in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, they will also address some of the country’s long-standing challenges, including the increasing learner dropout rate in our schools. The company’s flagship Education programme aims to enable the enhancement of the education system in partnership with the Department of Basic Education (DBE).

In partnership with the DBE we have connected and maintained 92 teacher centres and provide connectivity to over 3000 schools across the country. We have also trained over 250 000 teachers on the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in the classroom. These teacher centres serve as ICT District hubs that ensure continuous training for teachers, learners, unemployed youth and community members. Vodacom e-School provides online Curriculum Assessment Policy Statements aligned digital content has ensured that we bridge the digital divide in making learning exciting using technology. The e-School portal has reached over 760 000 learners across the country. The Youth Academy has also improved the digital skills of unemployed youth across the country and provided accredited training to 1 333 unemployed youth.

In March this year, Vodacom, as a long standing partner of government and as part of our 25 year old existence, has pioneered a multifaceted education ecosystem model that looks at the interdependencies and interrelationships of ECDs, high schools and incorporates teacher training, parents and local communities to significantly transform our education system. The eco-system has been launched in Limpopo and KwaZulu Natal provinces.

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