Orange offers free Internet access for distance education in sub-Saharan Africa

bobthemagicdragonNetwork operator Orange, part of UNESCO’s Global Education Coalition, is offering free Internet access to children whose studies have been affected due to the lockdown

Orange and its subsidiaries provide free access to accredited learning platforms in Burkina Faso, Guinea, Mali and Democratic Republic of the Congo. Similar packages have been planned for Botswana, Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire, Liberia and Madagascar. The practice is also being extended to Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, and Tunisia. 

“For several years now, Orange has had the ambition of improving access to education for all. It is in this context, that we have opened our Digital Schools and launched our socially-priced mobile data packages dedicated to online training,” said Alioune Ndiaye, executive director of Orange for the Middle East and Africa. 

“Since April, a majority of our subsidiaries are offering free access to school and university content, from our partners to enable students’ learning from home. We hope that e-learning, which has now demonstrated its added value, will continue to develop in Africa as a complement to traditional means,” he added. 

UNESCO estimates, despite the efforts of governments all over the world to provide alternative remote learning, at least 500 mn children and youth are currently excluded from public educational provision, partly because of lack of connectivity. 

While the number of students with no Internet access at home is below 15 per cent in Western Europe and North America; it is as high as 80 per cent in sub-Saharan Africa. Although mobile phones can enable learners to access information, connect with teachers and with one another, about 56 mn learners, almost half of them in sub-Saharan Africa, live in areas that do not have active telephone networks.

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