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Broadband infrastructure enables digital education, empowers new approaches to learning

The COVID-19 disruption to education has highlighted the huge role that technology plays in the sector, says Phila Dube, Chief Commercial Officer at Openserve.

By Openserve

, |

Broadband infrastructure enables digital education, empowers new approaches to learning

The COVID-19 disruption to education has highlighted the huge role that technology plays in the sector, says Phila Dube, Chief Commercial Officer at Openserve.

By Openserve

, |

3 min read

During this past year, we saw a surge in technology adoption to help facilitate remote teaching and learning among students and teachers. This trend has continued as schools resumed with a mix of in-person, hybrid, and fully remote learning models.

This trend highlights the pressing need for broadband infrastructure in the country, if our education system is to sustain the current demand.

The increased adoption of edtech tools presents huge opportunities for customers to review their connectivity options to support effective teaching and learning — both inside and outside the classroom — as we continue to navigate the so-called “new normal” in education.

Broadband as an enabler to education

According to the World Economic Forum, more than 1.2 billion children in 186 countries got affected by school closures due to the pandemic. This forced educational institutions to adopt online technologies at break-neck speed.

When digital technology was first introduced into schools, it was mainly seen as a way of enhancing traditional instruction. But just as technology has disrupted many other sectors of society, it is now poised to disrupt education. It is becoming clear that technology has the potential not just to improve education but also to transform the way students learn, both in the classroom and beyond.

High-speed broadband networks will not only accelerate learning, but they will also enable students to acquire the skills that they need to flourish in a post-industrial society

Connected learning leverages digital network technology to empower students to pursue their own interests and assemble their own curriculums, making it possible for them to learn anytime, in any place and at any pace.

Online resources that support this kind of individualised learning include search engines, digital libraries, blogs, wikis, podcasts, videos, social media, open education resources and specialised communities of practice. Broadband networks – both wired and wireless – are key to making this a certainty.

We will continue to see the proliferation of a hybrid approach to learning in South Africa in the foreseeable future. But for this to be truly effective, the basic tenet of connectivity needs to be in place – and a reliable and cost-effective one at that.

Education cannot be held hostage to a pandemic situation. While the pandemic and lockdown have led to unspeakable losses, in the education system, at least, one can see a silver lining — education being accessible in remote locations. As South Africa accepts virtual classes, freedom of subjects, flexible assessments, it will become easier to train the next set of workforce, who are already quite adapted to virtual platforms.

Connectivity to more of South Africa

Openserve strives to keep South Africans connected by providing the ultimate broadband experience for households, schools and businesses. Openserve is focused on providing next-generation and higher-speed connectivity solutions to more of South Africa.

As reported earlier this week, Openserve’s annual results saw a 2.9 % rise in the fibre to the home (FTTH) connectivity rate to a pleasing 51.1%.  As we continue to invest in a robust infrastructure network, we will aggressively increase our footprint in the latter part of FY2021 to pass approximately 549 900 homes with fibre, an increase of 20.7%.

We’ve upgraded existing fibre nodes, allowing us to use our strategic network investments to provide the ability to connect approximately 300 000 additional premises to our fibre footprint, thus increasing the overall premises that can connect and activate services on Openserve’s fibre footprint to over 800 000. What this means for schools, businesses and consumers alike is that access to connectivity is now a reality.

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