Orange Botswana remains committed to bridging the digital gap in Botswana, with efforts through Orange Foundation, the business’ dedicated corporate social investment body. In this vein, and building on years to date of investment in this space and the Digital Schools Programme, Orange Foundation today signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MoU) with the Ministry of Basic Education and Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development.
The Programme aims to bridge the digital divide by leveraging technology to improve access to education in primary schools in remote areas, thus working to promote sustainable digital inclusion. The MoU was signed during a stakeholder engagement which sought to immerse key friends, partners and family of the Orange Botswana brand in the mandate and technology, brought together under the proposition “We Are Building the Future We Want for Our Children.”
Said Orange Botswana Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Patrick Benon, “At Orange Botswana, we recognise that children are our future. In their hands, hearts and minds, reside our future leaders, champions, and agents of change that will usher Botswana into the 4th Industrial revolution. A key part of making this a reality is access to education for all; and through the advent of technology, we can empower our children with the kind of education and digital literacy that gives them all the tools and resources they need to engage in this revolution. We are determined to play our part as responsible corporate citizens in transforming and building a better future for our children.”
The Digital Schools Programme notably address strategic priority 10 of the ETSSP, which is “Utilisation and Integration of ICT and e-Education” and the Thuto Net Programme, part of the National ICT Policy “Maitlamo.” It includes 3 key components:
Donation of ICT equipment to schools: The MoU signed today concretizes plans to roll out aspects of the Orange Foundation Digital Schools Programme for a further three years. This comes on the back of an MoU between the same parties in 2018 to kick-start a pilot of the Digital Schools Programme in 5 primary schools. The programme officially rolled out in Ntlhantlhe, Dikgonnye, Mmanoko, Sedibe and Moshopha Primary Schools with great success.
The Programme has since been rolled out to 14 primary schools across Botswana. Orange Botswana now donates 1,100 tablets, in addition to the usual 500 tablets donated annually, towards the Programme. This means that 2020 sees donation of a total of 1,600 tablets and 62 servers to 32 schools. In addition, Orange Botswana will partner the Ministry of Basic Education to pilot the digitisation of Junior Secondary School learning material. Orange Foundation donated 1,100 smart tablets and each selected school will receive a digital kit comprising:
50 tablets with a movable case
2 raspberry Pi servers pre-loaded with content
11 multi-socket adaptors
. 1 screen
To develop the digital content: The learning material was developed under the supervision of the Ministry of Basic Education and it is based on the National Primary School Curriculum. The content has been designed to be highly interactive to create and build interest in the minds of young learners. The Digital Schools Programme will also venture into the development of Junior Secondary School learning material. This includes content development for Mathematics, Science, Setswana and English disciplines.
Training of teachers and students on the use of the digital equipment and digital content. Orange Botswana has sought to gauge impact of efforts thus far, and feedback has been positive. Orange Botswana has interviewed the headmasters, teachers and students on the value add received from the donation. More than 90% of those interviewed believe that the donation has significantly improved their learning and teaching experience in classrooms. Further training on the content and devices shared will be paramount to continued success of the programme.
“At Orange Botswana, we always look for innovative solutions that can create real impact in the development of our Nation’s education sector. We diversified our offerings and introduced ATLEGA and MPOTSA, which serve mobile education platforms; both these platforms bear testament to the various possibilities and opportunities that come with technology. We are very excited about our partnership with the two Ministries as we work together, hand in hand, to engineer and build the future we want for our children. We are very excited about our partnership with the two Ministries as we hold hands to engineer and build the future that we want for our children. We are confident that this partnership will continue to prosper and bring a true revolution to the people of Botswana and indeed the Nation, for generations to come,” concluded Dr. Benon.