T-Systems and Cisco help to solve South African education challenges

Education is a basic human right for all citizens of all ages, and as such improving education service delivery is one of South African Government’s top priorities.

May 13, 2014

Education is a basic human right for all citizens of all ages, and as such improving education service delivery is one of South African Government’s top priorities. However, addressing this need is challenging in the South African environment, as a large proportion of the population resides in rural and remote areas. In addition, a well-recognised skills shortage adds further complexity to the problem. Unified Communications (UC) technology offers the ideal solution to these challenges, delivering multiple benefits for both Government and its citizens and effectively assisting to improve education service delivery.

“The education sector is beset by a number of challenges, which make the delivery of effective education for all a difficult task. Tight budgets mean that administrators need to do more with fewer resources, and teachers are required to develop new material for their students and deliver it in such a way that it meets the individual needs and abilities of each of their students. Furthermore, a shortage of skilled educators, particularly in rural locations has typically necessitated a lot of travel which is neither the most efficient nor the most cost effective model,” says Piniel Mavengere, Strategic Business Development, T-Systems in South Africa.

Advanced technology in the form of UC solutions, however, offers the ideal solution to effectively address all of these challenges. By leveraging tools such as video collaboration, education for all can be dramatically improved without extensive travel or substantial on-going expenses, while addressing social and skills development.

UC and video collaboration can be used to improve service delivery in a number of ways. Lectures can be streamed from a central location to any number of different locations at rural education centres. This has the potential to reach thousands of students, with high quality video streaming ensuring that their experience is almost as good as being there. Lessons can be recorded and then made available online using video on demand functionality. Video on demand also enables lectures and lessons to be dubbed into any language, so students can receive quality education in their home language.

“The Cisco Enabled Education offering is the ideal solution to assist Government to address service delivery challenges. It is a fully integrated learning platform that delivers functionality out of the box using collaboration technology to stream live content and enable remote learning. In addition, the solution is a ‘one box’ offering for a mobile classroom environment, incorporating a screen and projector, speakers, microphone, digital whiteboard and document sharing capabilities. This scalability permits a single teacher to reach a wide and distributed audience, delivering quality education to ore citizens easily and affordably,” says Conrad Steyn, Product Sales Specialist for Cisco Collaboration.

This technology effectively addresses the challenges of the education sector while ensuring continuous skills development and on-going improvement for service delivery.

Vendor partnerships play a significant role in leveraging additional benefits with these solutions. Says Giancarlo Fenderico, Strategic Partners & Alliance Manager at T-Systems in South Africa, “T-Systems values the importance of strategic partnerships which require commitments on both sides. Through these partnerships, we strive to unlock real value for the most important component of this relationship, the customer. This is achieved by working jointly on focussed initiatives, ensuring that the solution is leveraged to its fullest and is included as part of an end-to-end offering. This ensures integration across the board and synergy throughout the lifecycle of these projects.”

Piniel Mavengere, Strategic Business Development at T-Systems in South Africa, will be discussing the challenges faced by the education sector at a breakfast event at T-Systems South Africa in Midrand on 15 May 2014, hosted by T-Systems in collaboration with Cisco. The event will highlight how T-Systems’ and Cisco’s education solutioncan help to solve education challenges, improve service delivery, and create zero distance between government and its citizens.