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Telkom’s digital mission to democratise education

It is now almost universally agreed that good education is the foundation to personal growth, stability and success. However, accessing that education is one of the fundamental challenges keeping young people from achieving success and fulfilment.

Preventing this access are material barriers such as cost, connectivity and the availability of quality educational resources.

It is also one of life’s great injustices that precisely the people who need education most – the poor and underprivileged, those living in remote rural areas and those without strong social support networks – find it hardest to access quality education. This is in spite of education being a democratic birthright, promised to South Africa’s people in terms of our Constitution.

Digital connectivity offers a unique opportunity to overcome this injustice and to give families and communities access to the educational resources they need to improve their lives. Integrated communications provider Telkom, already a leader in the education space, has taken this opportunity to heart.

The organisation has launched TelkomLearn, a digital learning platform for parents seeking high-quality educational resources for their children, as well as young people looking to further their careers. The platform offers a comprehensive solution in partnership with a diverse range of credible digital education providers.

The new platform is the latest expression of Telkom’s long-standing commitment to education, in line with its stated mission to seamlessly connect South Africans to a better life, says Telkom Group Executive for Innovation and Transformation, Dr. Mmaki Jantjies.

‘Telkom has lived our belief in the value of education through years of fostering digital learning opportunities through connectivity,’ says Jantjies. ‘Through our long-established Telkom Foundation school development programme, our higher education bursaries, as well as the Telkom Centres of Excellence supporting Masters and PhD students, we consistently support the transformative power of education. TelkomLearn is an exciting new way to live out this commitment.’

TelkomLearn looks to redefine education, by providing seamless access to online learning and skills development, which is made possible through Telkom’s nationwide digital connectivity. The primary objective of TelkomLearn is to democratise access to quality digital learning resources for parents across the country.

The platform offers two main streams: Basic Education and Higher Education. Under the basic education path, parents can access the extremely popular Lightbulb Edtech platform established in 2015, which is powered by Telkom. Lightbulb gives Grade 8 ­– 12 learners access to supplementary materials, practice exercises and curriculum-aligned educational content, empowering them to excel in their studies.

For parents looking to support their children’s higher-education goals, TelkomLearn offers a diverse array of courses through its partners, covering specific career skills like entrepreneurship, Cloud computing, web design, customer service, social media marketing and financial literacy. There are more than 100 courses available, mostly free of charge, allowing parents to help their children explore different learning programmes and career opportunities.

The power of the Telkom Learn higher-education platform comes through way it aggregates several credible digital education providers on one channel, giving parents a comprehensive solution and an easily accessible way to enrich their children’s educational journey. The TelkomLearn partners are all global leaders in the digital and online education fields, such as IBM, Microsoft, HP, Duke and Alibaba Cloud.

‘Because these organisations are at the very forefront of the digital economy, the courses that they provide are absolutely relevant to the needs of modern business, says Dr. Jantjies. ‘This means that children and young people who take these courses will not only do better at school, they will be able to build successful careers in later life.’

Digital education is fast establishing itself as a tool of empowerment, giving parents a way to ensure their children can access the training and the opportunities they need to succeed in today’s digital age.

Dr. Jantjies said the comprehensive new offering brought quality educational resources within reach for all of South Africa’s people – something she said was a democratic imperative, but also an economic necessity for the country.

‘We firmly believe that education is not only the key to personal development but also the cornerstone of innovation and national development,’ she says. ‘By nurturing talent and fostering a culture of innovation, we aim to contribute to the long-term prosperity and development of our people – and our nation at large.’

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