Schools Connectivity (ZA0014)
Government has realised that access to education provides for children at a young age to be moulded into our future leaders and technocrats for the country. The Department of Communications embraces this thought
in ensuring that internet connectivity,
access, hardware and content is an imminent requirement to bridging the digital divide, and streamlining learning in the country.
The Department has embarked on a schools connectivity rollout project with telecoms operators as a start to ensure that we bring technology to learners. This will be done in
2 phases, whereby phase 1 will entail the connectivity to 1650 schools by savings achieved in the 2010 World Cup, and phase 2 will be rolled out by telecoms operators under their Universal Service Obligations (USO).
Financial savings has been achieved in the
2010 World Cup by Telkom. The Department
has requested that Telkom provide a model whereby schools will be connected with the financial savings derived. As such, the initial plan was to provide only internet connectivity to schools; however the department realised that a turnkey solution would benefit the schools and learners better than just internet connectivity. Department of Basic Education (DBE) then derived a hardware specification for the model which is to be implemented.
This then would ensure that schools would receive internet connectivity and hardware (computers) in the 1650 schools identified. Further to this, DBE will be developing an internet portal for education, thus allowing learners and teachers to access educational content.
Any solution is never complete without ICT training, hence, the department intends to provide free ICT training to teachers, thus empowering them to be able to use the technology provided and also pass on this knowledge to learners. This rollout is intended to start in the current financial year, and will span for 2years thereafter.
In order for telecoms operators to be given a license, community obligations regarded as Universal Service Obligations (USO) were imposed on them to fulfil. One such obligation is providing connectivity to schools. Each operator was allocated a number of schools to connect which ICASA had to allocate and manage.
Providing connectivity without hardware (computers) is futile, hence ICASA will be in the process of amending certain obligations to include a full solution to each school that an operator connects. Once this process is completed, the operators will provide a rollout plan which will be managed by ICASA, and monitored by the Department of Communications & Department of Basic Education.
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