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Orange, gov't sign MoU for project digital schools

Orange Botswana chief executive officer, Patrick Benon says his company strongly believes in bridging the digital divide and leveraging on technology to improve access to education.

Benon was speaking at the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Orange, Ministry of Basic Education (MoBE) and the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD) on Wednesday morning.

He said the MoU entails that the Orange Foundation will create and digitise school curriculum for primary level and provide the content to government schoolteachers.

“We (Orange Botswana) believe that it is truly important to give and enable all children access to education, provide them with material and equipment that will make learning easier,” Benon said.

The MoU states that MoBE will provide the national curriculum for primary schools for content development while MLGRD will be responsible for making available the schools chosen for the programme as well as ensuring the safety of the digital equipment in the schools.

The signing marked the beginning of the company’s initiative of digital schools through the Orange Foundation, which involves the donation of digital technologies to schools, especially primary schools in rural areas.

The first phase of the drive will be a pilot of the initiative in five primary schools, which will each receive a digital kit comprising 50 tablets and

pouches, two servers, 11 multi-socket adaptors, two dust resistant cases with padlocks, one projector and one screen while the teachers will be trained on how to facilitate the use of the gadgets.

After the successful implementation of the pilot, which starts next month, the Foundation will roll out the digital kits to 25 more schools, bringing the total number of schools to 30, which they expect to be done with within the duration of five years.

An average of 500 students per school are expected to benefit from the programme meaning that at the end of the programme 15,000, students will have benefited from the programme.

The permanent secretary in the MoBE, Dr Collie Monkge said his ministry realises that it would not manage to digitise all schools alone, thus private and public partners like Orange can help them go a long way in making these technologies accessible to students.

“We are glad that Orange Foundation’s Corporate Social Resposibility (CSR) will assist government to implement Chapter 6.4 of the National ICT Policy,” Monkge said, commending the Foundation’s contribution to the betterment of the quality of education.





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