Telkom boosts grassroots education
Telkom has launched a project that seeks to bring Internet connectivity to a number of rural primary schools for the first time, despite the infrastructure dearth.
The telecommunication operator's social investment arm, the Telkom Foundation, this week initiated the Connecting Schools project, during the annual Southern Africa Telecommunication Networks and Applications Conference, in the Western Cape, at two of the local primary schools, in George.
More than 120 tablet computers, with free Internet connectivity, were delivered to the Mateza and Tyholorha primary schools on Tuesday, as the project kicked off.
Each teacher was provided with a Motorola Zoom WiFi+3G, 32GB tablet computer and each school equipped with four ADSL/3G routers. The devices and equipment were handed over by Telkom Group CEO Nombulelo Moholi and deputy minister of education Enver Surty.
Telkom says the schools, disadvantaged by a lack of terrestrial infrastructure, necessitated the employment of alternative means of technology, other than fixed-line services.
Moholi says the company is committed to exploring new areas of growth in SA.” She pointed to Telkom's mission to provide seamless connectivity in a bid to “help South Africans realise their dreams of more productive, rewarding and fulfilling lives”.
To this end, says Moholi, mobile connectivity strengthens the potential of broadband across SA's diverse regions, “not only in cities and towns, but across the open spaces of rural SA. Today, the interplay of mobile connectivity and technology in the form of tablet devices unlocks a new dimension in teaching and learning at Mateza and Tyhlorha primary schools.”
Telkom says the schools each also received 20 additional tablet computers for their media centres and to allow learners to familiarise themselves with the technology.
“All the tablet computers are preloaded with official Department of Education workbooks, including content relating to languages, life skills, mathematics, literacy and numeracy for various grades in various languages.”
Telkom will also provide teachers with the necessary training to fully utilise the devices. This training will be conducted by Telkom's training wing, the Centre for Learning.
Plans are under way to execute Telkom's Connecting Schools Project to another three schools in George, as well as six schools in Witbank, Mpumalanga.
“Our aspiration is to advance the cause of quality education, incorporate digital tools into the teaching process, and produce knowledge workers that will allow SA to play in the premier league,” says Moholi.