Orange Business Services with Tswela Services brings remote learning to Boitumelong Secondary School

  • Orange Business Services makes Microsoft Teams accessible via online and mobile platforms to learners and teachers

Orange Business Services, Tswela Services in partnership with Edupac Software Services, along with Bulwark Consulting and WiConnect Business have teamed up to develop the Remote Learning Support Project. This initiative was recently launched in March 2021, with the official handover taking place at the Boitumelong Secondary School. The project aims to overcome the challenges of African education by bringing internet connectivity, along with remote learning solutions to teachers and students.

Following the Ekurhuleni North Connectivity Project Summit in 2019, Orange Business Services supported the initiative by making their online collaboration service offering, including Microsoft Teams, accessible to a local school via online and mobile platforms.

Currently there are more than 1.2 billion children in 186 countries around the world affected by school closures due to the pandemic. As a result, education has undergone dramatic changes, with the distinctive rise in online learning, whereby teaching is undertaken remotely and on digital platforms. This presents a challenge for many South African schools, students and teachers. Whereas some have been fortunate to be able to access online learning platforms right from the start of the lockdown, others continue to be dependent on government and private funders for the necessary resources.

Keith Matthews, Country Manager for South Africa and Sales Director Sub Saharan Africa at Orange Business Services, said“This project demonstrates Orange’s commitment to contribute to economic and social development and support the local communities in which the business operates. Access to education is a fundamental human right, and we are proud to be working with like-minded partners to empower the development of South Africa’s future leaders. Microsoft Team’s online and remote classroom enables students, faculty and educators to engage in virtual face-to-face connections, organise assignments, collaborate and share files, and access class materials in one central location.”

During the introductory phase of the project, led by the Department of Education (DoE), Tswela Services was tasked with providing the necessary materials to be delivered to schools. Next, a needs analysis was conducted, and a deadline set for schools to provide teacher and learner information.

This phase also saw the deployment and installation of the EDUPAC SASAMS-SMS application to assist SASAMS schools in sending their particulars via the EDUPAC SMS gateway. Following this, Tswela was commissioned with the activation of Office 365 licenses and providing the necessary training.

In order to ensure that all educators have access to mobile connectivity, essential for online learning, WiConnect Business has provided teachers with the SIM cards, routers and data needed to support the initiative. Additionally, WiConnect will be responsible for the delivery and set-up of these resources, running the required training and providing ongoing support until the end of June 2021.

“The Remote Learning Support Project not only demonstrates an ongoing commitment to helping the Ekurhuleni North District, selected schools, principals, SMTs, teachers and learners stay connected and engaged, but more importantly, enables effective learning despite the extenuating circumstances,” concluded Steven Dire, Head of Programs, Bulwark Institute.