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Harvest Combined School in Ladysmith, Kwazulu-Natal is an independent school founded and owned by the Harvest Educational Trust – a registered Non-Profit Organisation – and one of the schools receiving free fibre internet access from Fibre Network Operator (FNO), Evotel, as part of the company’s Schools Programme.
“The Harvest Combined School is a school that immediately stands out as different and fully uses the internet to educate students in modern times and, like Evotel, share a vision to positively impact their community and the world,” says Bradley Bekker, Head of Brand at Evotel.
The school has started to address the needs identified in the community to serve students from previously disadvantaged backgrounds and is a member of the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI) and is also accredited with Umalusi.
The Harvest Combined School does not have a computer lab as some other schools do, but, explains the school’s principal, Hagan Nash: “It is a fully-fledged BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) school and works within the Google for Education space. This means that every student connects to their cloud-based classroom to access their schoolwork and use other Google apps for learning.”
As a Google for Education enterprise the school relies a lot on the internet and data to enhance communication between students and teachers. For example, cites Nash, the shy student who couldn’t ask a question in class will email the teacher after the lesson for further help, which he is adamant, enhances the quality of education given to their students.
How the fibre access provided by Evotel is used at the school prioritises the admin office, which receives first priority when it comes to accessing the internet.
“We appreciate that the Harvest Combined School is also investigating how they can use fibre to increase students’ overall learning experience and make it more well-rounded. By well-rounded education we mean it needs to be inclusive of academic work, sports and other extracurricular activities,” notes Bekker.
The school is currently investigating the possibility of introducing gaming as an extra-curricular activity if finances permit it. An alumni student working at an online games company has approached the school in an effort to get it on board as an outreach programme to further drive and optimise education in South Africa through technology.
“The fact that a previous student at Harvest Combined School is now part of a tech-based start-up company that is focussing on taking education further and starting with the institution that moulded him, simply shows the power that fibre enabled education can have to motivate progress and establishing businesses that care and give back to their communities,” Bekker says.
According to principal Nash, everyone absolutely loves having Evotel’s fibre in the school. “We are so grateful to Evotel for generously getting involved in education and providing schools that fall under their network with free fibre access. We only trust that other organisations and ISPs will join the drive to better educate our youths by sponsoring data costs and high-speed service packages to enable schools to access the fibre speeds needed to run and manage BYOD school environments,” Nash states.
With ever decreasing data prices it is more than possible for schools like the Harvest Combined School to add gaming as an e-sport to their curricula for their students; allowing the school to make full use of the speeds, stability and reliability only fibre internet access can offer all schools and their students across the entire country, be it in large cities or smaller rural towns.
Says Bekker in conclusion: “We at Evotel are very proud to be able to provide the schools that fall under our network coverage with free access to fibre internet and we are extremely excited to see what other interesting methods of educating our country’s youths and educational initiatives will still be explored to make education fun. The number of schooling possibilities and the variety of added opportunities for students seems endless,”
Evotel is an open-access fibre to the home network infrastructure provider, delivering a stable and uncompromised network to all the homes in a suburb. Evotel works in partnership and with the support of the community and the local municipality. They have an experienced and passionate team who are dedicated to the services that they provide.
This post and content is sponsored and provided by Evotel