The impact of COVID-19 is difficult to quantify, given how far reaching it has been. Education in particular has suffered as a result, and in order to assist learners access digital education solutions, the likes of Microsoft South Africa and Vodacom have both been offering different services at this time.
Earlier today the pair announced a partnership that will see them join their respective talents to further assist South African learners at this time, with a view to greatly improve the digital education landscape post-COVID-19 as well.
For now the joint solution that Microsoft SA and Vodacom have brought to the fore is a digital education platform called the Connected Digital Education initiative.
“This is in response to the growing need for affordable online learning solutions that meet the educational needs of today’s learners through a secure combination of connectivity, collaboration, communication and educational tools and resources, while also considering the long-term need to transform education,” explains a press release regarding the announcement.
“This partnership brings together two companies who have invested extensively in education to deliver solutions that address the immediate and long-term needs of education in the country,” it adds.
As for what each organisation is bringing to the table, Microsoft is handling the online tools aspect, with its Office 365 Education package, which includes productivity apps like Teams, OneNote, Outlook, Word, PowerPoint and Excel in order to create what they term as a virtual classroom.
“This empowers both educators and learners, and enables learning to continue in a seamless manner, which is a priority for Microsoft as we aim to ensure that South African learners are equipped with the right tools and skills needed to make them future-ready. 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,” says Lillian Barnard, MD of Microsoft South Africa.
Shifting to Vodacom, it will be making its Edu Data Bundle available, along with working with its education partners in getting the necessary Office 365 training to teachers, as well as offering discounted data pricing to learners as part of the initiative.
“As a company with a purpose to connect for a better future, 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. We are fundamentally accelerating digital transformation in education through online learning now and well into the future,” adds Shameel Joosub, CEO of Vodacom Group.
Both organisations are aiming for this platform to make an impact as to how digital education is delivered locally, and given the glaring holes that COVID-19 has highlighted in that regard, we hope it can perform as intended.
To find out more about the platform for your school, institution or classroom, head here.