According to UNESCO, as of March 30, 2020, over 87% of the world’s student population – 1.5 billion children and youth – is affected by school closures in more than 180 countries.
In response to this, Huawei Botswana Team promptly developed a plan and budget to ensure that education continues during the COVID-19 emergency period and beyond. Huawei is on the frontline, adhering to the corporate social value concept of perfection in science and technology and digital tolerance, working together with its global Huawei ICT Academy partners to overcome difficulties and light the world with knowledge and technology.
In Botswana, Huawei has established partnerships with four universities namely, Botswana Accountancy College (BAC), University of Botswana (UB), Botho University, Botswana Open University (BOU) and lastly Botswana University of Information and Science Technology (BUIST). These universities are certified Academies of Huawei that can carry out information and communication technology (ICT) classes to their respective students. The HCIA course offered are Routing and Switching, Cloud, Big Data, and Artificial Intelligence.
In order for interested lecturers of these Universities to get certified is by enrolling for an online course that is offered by Huawei and do online self-study thereafter. Huawei provides support by communicating with lecturers on training schedule, booking a WeLink (video conferencing application developed by Huawei) Meeting and share the link with the lecturers. Lecturers will then install ZOOM and join in the meeting to attend online live classes. A Huawei authorised trainer who shares PowerPoint slides, desktop, note or whiteboard, conducts the training while using the WeLink meeting, then lastly trainers have the option to record training and share the recorded video to Lecturers for playback. Upon completion of the training classes, lecturers who are able to do Self-Study within two weeks of completion of training can notify the Huawei Representative by email when they are ready to do the Three Assessments, which encompass the following:
E-learning Exam (online portal)
Interview (via Welink Meeting)
Lab Exam (on eNSP offline, invigilated via Welink Meeting)
After the lecturers pass all three assessments they become certified and can start to deliver training to students, Huawei provides an incentive amounting $200 incentive upon finishing training to a class of over 10 students.
The lecturers will then deliver on the training by sending a student list to Huawei so regional offices can provide data bundle for students to join the online course. They will also share training timetables and schedules for Huawei to book Welink meetings. All these HCIA classes will be conducted online for the convenience of both the student and lecturer. Then the last incentive for the lecturer delivering the classes is a $20 for each student that passes the HCIA exam.
The programme is open for student who are enrolled in Huawei registered academies. Students will enroll by joining a Group Class, which provides free data bundle support,
The BAC Academy took advantage of the lockdown by successfully completing training of its students on HCIA in Routing and Switching. The academy ran the classes every day for three hours per day in two weeks. The class had enrolled 16 students who actively participated in classes that were carried out by their lecturer.
The students collectively informed the coordinators of the ICT Academy’s that the course offered taught them a lot about Huawei networking products and were highly grateful for the opportunity granted. “We believe this certification will help open opportunities for us in the future or after school,” said one the enthusiastic students.
Despite the exciting sentiments they had to say about the training offered to them, they also highlighted the challenges they had of slow internet connectivity, which was due to the start of the national lockdown in response to the COVID-19 outbreak and provision of chapter exams for practice of the mandatory exams they would need to take after completion of classes. Tebatso Nage, who is a certified lecturer in Routing and Switching for Huawei, was the class lecturer for this cohort.
The students felt that Nage was determined and showed understanding on what he was teaching the students. They further stated, “He was not just reading from the slides but also elaborating further using real life examples to clarify better”. Nage also added that he commends Huawei Technologies Botswana for its effort in reaching out to BAC students by availing an opportunity for them to certify in its courses during this lockdown period and that it would not have come at a better time. “We managed to start and finish delivery of material on time thanks to Huawei. I thank the Huawei team for keeping in touch with us, the class, in seeing to it that the plan is executed successfully. The meeting resources needed where availed on the first day and that enabled us to start as per the schedule,” Nage said.
Huawei’s vision is to bring digital to every person, home and organisation for a fully connected, intelligent world. To this end, Huawei releases Home Study Solution to ensure smooth training and learning experience during School Closures due to COVID-19.