Vodafone Gives $19 Million to Support Online Learning during COVID-19 Lockdown

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Vodafone has joined to support UNESCO’s Global Coalition for Response to COVID-19 that brings together multilateral partners and the private sector, to help countries deploy remote learning systems during the state of emergency lockdown.

The initiative minimises educational disruptions and maintain social contact between learners and their parents.

“As the organizer of the Global Coalition for Response to COVID-19, UNESCO mobilizes partnerships, coordinates, matches requirements with resources and helps the partnership provide support;

“I acknowledge the leaderships of Honourable Minister and CEOs of MESC and Vodafone in turning this challenge into an opportunity. While the global situation is not particularly good, it is giving us an opportunity to build partnerships and act in solidarity;

“These are the factors that have brought the Ministry, Vodafone and UNESCO together around this table today. “ says Ms Nisha, Director of UNESCO Office of the Pacific States.

Due to the COVID-10 pandemic, students have to stay away from schools and the state of emergency as a prevention measure is bringing new expectations on parents and teachers. The situation represents an unprecedented challenge for the education sector.

The signing of this agreement, means Vodafone & Ministry of Education, Sports & Culture (MESC) are now entering into the fourth step of support provision. UNESCO is on standby to further support through webinars and virtual meetings and trainings to assist the teachers plan, prepare and deliver education online.

“Our investment into the future of our children says a lot about our values and mission. Vodafone is all about empowering future generations to be the best they aspire to be. This initiative and free Student Sim have all you need to stay on top of your studies and succeed academically.” says Vodafone CEO, Satish Sharma.

Satish Sharma, CEO Vodafone Samoa. File photo.

Vodafone outlines that this partnership is not going to benefit the education sector alone.

Vidafone will offer free of cost services with total estimated value of these free services being around $19million tala.

It includes digital transformation of Samoa via support from Vodafone Samoa with the following initiatives for the children, secondary and tertiary students of Samoa:

1. Free Online Access to Education for 2020.
Vodafone will provide each school child with a free Student Sim Card which includes unlimited 4G Data access to a range of approved educational website for a full year of 2020. These sites include; the official Government of Samoa Health and Education portals, National University of Samoa student portals, University of South Pacific student portals, studyladder.com, khanacademy.com, IXL.com.
The service is for the students in Samoa, studying across all sectors of the education system (Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary) to continue their education in a virtual environment.

2. Vodafone Free Data bonus
Vodafone will provide each student SIM with a bonus of 1GB FREE Data valid for 3 days upon each instance of a Top-Up of $5 or more. This opportunity is separate to the above option.1 and in no way diminishes from the FREE Student Access.  This bonus data is to provide students with additional internet access for out of category portals/websites not included as part of option.1 above. All students will in addition receive 6GB per month of free access through all Vodafone Samoa Smart Wifi Access Points located throughout Samoa.

3. Free Vodafone Samoa Data Centre VM Hosting & Co-Location.

Vodafone will work with the Ministry of Education, Sports & Culture Samoa (MESC) to develop and host a free student e-Learning Portal utilizing the current and future Ministry learning curriculum. The Vodafone Samoa Data Centre provides an N+1 Call Centre service in Samoa which links directly to a 33Gbps national backbone throughout Samoa. This service will provide
a. Storage and CPU services on a Vodafone provided VM Service
b. Direct Internet Backbone access at up to 10Gbps for portal access services.

Honourable Loau Solamalemalo Keneti Sio, Minister MESC adds that the support Vodafone provides therefore makes it possible for these resources to reach our students while confined in their homes during school closure.

“Th Government of Samoa conveys its sincere appreciation for the support and the partnership that you provide in these critical times;

“With the limited resources and capacity that the Ministry has, working in partnership is the way forward to enable the learning and education that our students and people deserve”, said Loau.

“The signing of this MOU today will enhance partnership to achieve delivery and promotion of high quality education and training to meet the national, economic, social and cultural goals of Samoa.” Says. Honourable Loau Solamalemalo Keneti Sio.