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Vodacom ready to help drive digital literacy in Africa

Read time 2min 40sec
Vodacom Group CEO Shameel Joosub.
Vodacom Group CEO Shameel Joosub.

Vodacom is ready to host all government curricula in the cloud, while at the same time driving digital literacy with other partners in teacher centres and youth academies, says CEO Shameel Joosub.

Vodacom already zero-rates public platforms for schools and universities, reaching 842 646 users through its e-learning platform, and connects over 3 000 schools across South Africa.

Joosub was in London yesterday, where he co-hosted a roundtable at the UK-Africa Investment Summit 2020.

Speaking about enabling a digital society in Africa, Joosub called for accelerated digital transformation to support industry.

“There is a need to accelerate digital transformation to support industry verticals such as education, health and transport, and to forge meaningful partnerships, which 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.”

Joosub said this will also assist Vodacom’s purpose of connecting the next 100 million people in Africa to a better future by 2025.

“Most critical is building skills of the future for youth and adults. This starts with digitising of government textbooks from ECD to grade 12. This needs to be augmented with digital skills from partners such as Microsoft, Google and Cisco, with programmes such as coding cyber security, and so far, Vodacom has trained 1 333 young people since 2013 through the youth academy.”

According to Joosub, Vodacom’s commitment is to train another 1 750 young people on digital skills through the youth academy by 2025.

“This will enhance the education system. To enable digital transformation requires enabling access – this we do through zero-rating of public platforms for schools and universities. Vodacom is ready and has already started this process with an e-learning platform with 842 646 users to reach a million by the end of March and two million by 2025 and we have zero-rated job sites,” said Joosub.

He told the audience that success of digital transition requires a comprehensive approach, which also focuses on teachers and parents.

“In partnership with the Department of Basic Education, we have connected and maintained 92 teacher centres and provide connectivity to over 3 000 schools across the country. We have also trained over 250 000 teachers on the use of ICT in the classroom.

“These teacher centres serve as ICT district hubs that ensure continuous training for teachers, learners, unemployed youth and community members.”

The Vodacom boss said his company trains female farmers on digital skills and plans to have trained 4 250 female farmers by 2025 using the financial year 2020 baseline.

“Gender-based violence (GBV) is quite prevalent in our country and one of the reasons that women stay in such situations is due to a dependence on the abuser. Vodacom has been training GBV survivors on digital skills since financial year 2017 and so far have trained 1 300.

“Our commitment is to train 1 250 GBV survivors by 2025 using the financial year 2020 as the baseline. The ask is for government to digitise all the textbooks and to encourage young people to seize these opportunities.”

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