How One Education Initiative Unlocks the True Power of the Internet
Vodacom is bridging the digital divide in local schools through its e-School portal.
Access to the internet has turned the world into every global citizen’s backyard and amplified ideas that are changing the world. More than anything, access to the internet gives people the ability to educate and empower themselves. Yet, only 54% of South Africans have access to the internet.
To help bridge this digital divide, mobile communications company Vodacom launched the e-School portal three years ago. This initiative is a demonstration of Vodacom’s core belief that information and communication technology (ICT) and mobile technology can be utilised to improve and advance learning while addressing skills development, especially among learners who attend school in townships and rural areas. The portal has over 531,000 registered learners nationally.
Turning access to education into a basic right
Access to quality education is a human right that is promoted by the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), but for millions of children across the world, this remains a dream. By offering free unlimited online education, Vodacom e-School is ensuring that no child is left behind, whether they are in grade R or the final year of their schooling.
The portal’s curriculum is aligned with regulations and policies set the Department of Basic Education. The content is available in all 11 South African official languages and includes assignments, quizzes and learning videos.
“We know that many learners in our country often do not have access to learning material such as textbooks, which makes excelling at school more difficult. Through the Vodacom e-School platform, we can help address this challenge,” said Takalani Netshitenzhe, chief officer for corporate affairs at the Vodacom Group.
“As an investor in the country and partner of the Department of Basic Education, our goal is to ensure that learners throughout the country have access to some basic tools to help enhance their learning outside of the classroom,” she added.
Investing in a brighter future
Users can access the portal by visiting vodacom.co.za/e-school from their cellphone, tablet, or laptop to register. Thereafter, they will enjoy unlimited access to education content. Vodacom subscribers can access it data free.
Learners can now complete lessons from their school syllabus, to help them improve their marks. They can also track their progress and see how they are performing compared to other students in a fun, easy, and interactive way.
"The project is in line with Vodacom's ongoing drive to help provide ICT tools and internet connectivity to communities that do not have access. By providing access to internet services to improve the standard of education, Vodacom is able to uplift learners and the quality of education,” Netshitenzhe said.
Supporting education is the main focus of the Vodacom Foundation, which has invested more than R1 billion in initiatives that promote education, gender empowerment, and economic participation.