By Ifeoma Asika, Correspondent Campuses
Orange has announced the launch of its online training platform “Orange Campus Africa” in partnership with the Virtual University of Senegal (UVS) during GSMA Thrive Africa. Hosted at its data centre in Côte d’Ivoire, it was designed to bring together content from renowned partners in education and training in one place.
Since the beginning of the health crisis, Orange Middle East & Africa (Orange MEA) has stepped up its e-learning initiatives. From March to June, 15 of its subsidiaries made mobile connections to selected courses provided by international and African partners free of charge.
“Orange wanted to offer a global platform that would meet the specific needs of African populations, universities and businesses”, says CEO Orange Middle East and Africa, Alioune Ndiaye. He adds, “We want universities to be able to rely on online training to provide additional training and target more students. Students and professionals will also be able to take these courses on a personal basis and obtain a certification or even a diploma recognised in their country. It is a big step forward, with the African institutions, which have the potential to positively impact training and thus employment in our countries.”
The advantages of this platform are the adaptation of training to local contexts (cultural, economic, etc.), optimised access via a smartphone, mobile payment in local currencies for additional or premium services (tutoring or certification, for example).
African universities can rely on this platform to teach new topics, particularly related to technology and the digital economy, which are essential for developing countries and to generate jobs. The platform also enables universities to monitor their students online, and even to supplement training with virtual classes. This online and classroom teaching is an asset that should help increase the number of students and remove obstacles related to the students’ geographical remoteness. Companies can also train their employees using training courses from universities or other companies (partners, product suppliers, etc.).
As of today, Orange Campus Africa offers courses from the virtual universities of Tunis and Senegal, the French digital universities UNIT (Engineering and Technology) and AUNEGE (Economics and Management), the training firm Finafrique and EPITA Graduate School of Computer Science. A dozen other European and African institutions have confirmed their desire to distribute their training very soon. In addition, Orange Labs offers training on the basics of programming and the GSMA (the mobile operators’ association) also offers content on internet literacy to combat the digital divide. Small organisations offering training, such as start-ups or local organisations, will also be able to host their content and gain visibility.
Beyond the online services provided by the platform, the expertise of the UVS will be able to accompany the upskilling of African academia in this new but necessary field to meet demand: “We are proud to contribute to this project, which, like the UVS project, tackles the issue of education for all, combining best practices in digital technology and a new learning experience using ICT. It is also a mechanism to continue learning effectively and safely in the unpredictable context of the health crisis, for which the UVS is continuing to mobilize many resources for the benefit of the hard-hit populations”, says Coordinator of the UVS, Professor Moussa LO.