Microsoft and Vodacom partner to provide digital learning access to all studentsBy Ryan Noik 23 June 2020 | Categories: news
Today, Vodacom Business and Microsoft South Africa announced a partnership to provide access to continuous, connected digital learning for South Africa’s education institutions, educators and learners through their Connected Digital Education initiative.
Together, the companies explained that the Connected Digital Education Platform is a trusted education platform that enables remote learning with affordable connectivity, ultimately turning the learning environment into a single, simple solution for students and giving them access to the tools, apps and resources they need to learn.
With the Connected Digital Education Platform, educators will be able to continue to deliver classes to their learners, who can participate through chat or voice using a SIM card where access to Teams is provided for free. This will allow students to continue their education regardless of where they are or what device they are using – whether it be an Android, iOS or Windows smartphone, tablet or laptop.
William Mzimba, the chief officer for Vodacom Business, noted that as tragic as the pandemic has proven to be, responding to it, and the resulting lockdowns, have presented an opportunity to “leapfrog the development of education” locally.
“We are leveraging our ongoing partnership with Microsoft to provide educational institutions, from schools through to universities, with an education bundle of data at an affordable rate to participating institutions, elaborated Shameel Joosub, CEO of Vodacom Group.
“The solution also provides access to cost-effective data and educational apps and resources through Vodacom Business’s Edu Data Bundle and Microsoft Office 365 Education, a cloud-based service which offers the key Microsoft productivity apps like Teams, OneNote, Outlook, Word, PowerPoint and Excel,” he elaborated.
As much as enabling digital education is a rapid response to an unforeseen situation, Lillian Barnard, the MD of Microsoft South Africa, noted that investing in education also represents an investment in the future of South Africa as well as long term growth and prosperity in the country.
Barnard elaborated that the platform empowers both educators and learners, and enables learning to continue in a seamless manner. “The ability to bring together learning into one hub or solution is invaluable, and forms an important part of our commitment to building a complete education solution with critical partnerships with organisations like Vodacom Business,” she continued.
The platform is not just a 'flash in the pan' response to the pandemic or to lockdown. Rather, both companies stressed that it will continue to be available beyond the resolution of the current pandemic. Barnard explained the importance of increasing digital literacy, noting that tech hiring in the non technological industries is growing 11% more than tech hiring in the technology sector itself, indicating that there is a deeper need for tech and digital skills across industries.
Hopefully, today’s announcement will be a significant step in helping to meet that demand in the future.
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