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Microsoft South Africa has announced the official implementation phase of the highly anticipated TV White Spaces pilot project at the University of Limpopo, situated in South Africa’s most northern province. Part of the Microsoft 4Afrika initiative, this project aims to bring education to the masses using tech.
More specifically, if you haven’t heard of TV White Spaces project yet, the idea is to help people get online by reducing the cost of broadband. One of the principles is relying on frequency bands generally set aside for television transmissions in order to provide low-cost wireless networks. Working with local institutions, rolling out the services is much more natural.
As it stands, the people who’ll benefit from this will be five schools and the University of Limpopo, plus hundreds of learners and students who will be exposed to 21st century teaching techniques that will make them more employable in future.
Microsoft South Africa MD, Mteto Nyati says, that this is an important step to closing the persistent digital divide in the country. Specifically, we’ve covered a lot of elearning startups that offer innovative services, the biggest problem has been getting the product adopted.
“We need to enable our citizens to live, work and play on the global stage. Almost 60% of employees in a recent 21st century skills study said they developed most of the skills they use in their current jobs outside of school,” explains Nyati.
Many of the schools who’ll benefit from the TV White Spaces project have a shortage of resources that could be filled by services available on the internet. Nyati elaborates:
“Imagine if we could swing that around by giving them access to affordable cloud services, devices and broadband, as well as with teacher training programmes such as Partners in Learning, to equip our young learners with the skills they need to become the workforce of tomorrow.”