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Teaching with technology: UNICEF, DBE and Microsoft working together

Johannesburg, 15 – 18 September 2015: UNICEF played an instrumental role in securing a partnership between Microsoft South Africa and the Department of Basic Education (DBE) to deliver the Teaching with Technology Course, at the Microsoft premises.

The course focuses on how a wide range of digital technologies can be integrated optimally in learning, teaching and education management. It is designed for trainers of South African teachers who are skilled facilitators; who have extensive experience; and who are ICT-proficient. Microsoft facilitated the course whilst the DBE secured the participation of 50 of its top trainers in ICT in learning and teaching from all 9 provinces.

In her address, Nadi Albino, UNICEF South Africa Chief of Education emphasized the importance of using innovative methodologies and digital technologies. She reminded the audience of the critical importance of Goal 4 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which focuses on ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all. “In the 21st century, this goal can only be achieved with the support of digital technologies,” Ms. Albino noted.

In light of this, UNICEF has supported mobile learning by establishing the UkuFUNda virtual school programme as an innovation that was launched by the DBE in 2014. This model uses low-cost and data-lite mobile technology to make available teacher and learning resources, counselling services and a communication network to officials, teachers, learners and parents in the most remote schools. By September 2015 over 150 000 learners and teachers from 8000 schools were registered on the site.

This training event marks the first of a range of activities and projects that form the basis of the partnership between UNICEF, Microsoft and the DBE on teacher development. In addition to growing the capacity of a core team of national trainers, the DBE will work with the representatives of each of the provinces at the workshop, on provincial plans to roll-out training and support to teachers in their respective provinces, so that they too can learn how to use technologies in support of their teaching practice.

The partnership has also been solidified based on a recent decision by Microsoft's global office in Seattle, USA, to make South Africa one of its five priority countries for investment in education.





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