Evotel remains committed to youth education.

Evotel remains committed to youth education.

Since opening its doors, Fibre Network Operator (FNO), Evotel, has placed a great emphasis on giving back to the communities it operates in, with a focus on education and uplifting the youth.

The company established its Schools Program.

Expanding its efforts on providing fast and reliable fibre access to bolster education, the company established its Schools Program in 2019 to better the lives of South African youths. Through the Evotel Schools Program the company committed itself towards providing any school that falls under its network coverage area with free fibre internet access. 

“The aim of our Schools Programme is similar to the principle of laying fibre to build smart cities, but in this case it is to establish ‘smart schools’. In 2020, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic when efforts to curb the spread of the virus saw schools being closed due to lockdown restrictions, it became abundantly clear to us that the lack of fibre connectivity, especially for small towns and more rural communities had a drastic impact on schooling and learners’ education. We couldn’t sit back and see this hurt learners’ growth and development prospects,” says Bradley Bekker, Evotel’s Head of Brand.  

The main idea behind the Evotel schools initiative is to provide learners with the ability to thrive and be successful in a connected world. They are our future leaders and their development and success will benefit the entire country.  

The world today relies heavily on the internet.

The world today is basically reliant on the internet and Evotel realised that schools in South Africa have been largely overlooked; unable to benefit from a fast and reliable fibre connection to the internet and the multiple opportunities it offers.

Over and above its promise of providing uncompromised services, Evotel dedicated itself to also build and uplift communities by providing extra value to these communities by giving back to them when possible.

The company considers it a duty to assist the public sector to develop and uplift the population in small towns and rural areas. By simply doing a bit more Evotel enables these communities to help themselves and not only rely on the Government and already struggling municipalities to deliver much-needed services. 

“As a responsible company we have undertaken to add value in the towns we are implementing our fibre network infrastructure and are providing free internet connections to all the qualifying schools within our rollout,” Bekker states.

50 Schools have joined their network since the start of the program.

So far, the company has connected and activated 50 schools across the country with nine of these schools being in Newcastle, KZN. The nine schools currently falling under Evotel’s network coverage area comprise pre-primary, primary, secondary and high schools under both public and private systems. They include: Ferrum High School, Huttenpark Pre-Primary School, Huttenpark Primary School, Drakensberg Primary School, Lennoxton Primary School, Lincoln Heights Secondary School, Panorama Combined School, Aletheia Christian College and Amajuba School.

These schools don’t have to pay a cent for the fast and reliable network infrastructure, which is simply one of the ways the company is giving back to the community. The cost of installation would normally be in the region of R2 100 once-off and then approximately R2 000 per month for the running and leasing of the fibre line, saving schools R24 000 per year that can be invested otherwise. 

“We are sponsoring this initiative to ensure the success of our youth’s education and create a more advanced schooling environment where tablets and PCs can be implemented for learning,” Bekker explains.

Many Schools have felt the difference.

“The improved bandwidth allows us to better utilise our digital learning channels and the faster upload and download speeds, because of fibre, will allow our educators to publish video lessons and educational content faster. The higher bandwidth and lower latency will improve the streaming experience for our students,” acknowledge Ferrum High School principal, Mrs C Myburgh.

Huttenpark, deputy principal, Mr Llewellyn Gray says: “Schooling has been hard-hit by Covid-19 and we had to almost instantly switch to eLearning for students to not be further disadvantaged by the pandemic. With Evotel’s free fibre access we now follow a more blended learning path of educating the youth in Newcastle. It’s easier to incorporate multimedia with networked data-projectors in our classrooms and access to track world events in real-time means that up-to-date news becomes part of our curriculum and subject material.”

According to Principal Myburgh, they have plans to continue with their online platforms in the future and launch Ferrum Online as an option for learners who cannot attend face-to-face learning every day.

It has improved academic and administrative work.

The learners are not the only ones gaining from the improved network. The teachers and schools themselves also benefit through an update to their administrative capabilities. Schools now utilise cloud-based file-sharing systems for both academic and administrative purposes, giving them a solid base for complete online school administration.

“We remain committed to youth development, their schooling and education and Evotel is determined to keep rolling fibre out to schools. Seeing how the schools are utilizing our fibre to provide learners with a better educational experience, makes us proud to be part of contributing to the development of our youth,” he adds.