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Global coalition brings $19 million support for education

The education sector in Samoa has received $19 million worth of support thanks to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (U.N.E.S.C.O.) and their partners including Vodafone Samoa. 

This support was highlighted in a statement issued by Vodafone Samoa. The funding support comes through a project called the Global Coalition for Response to COVID-19.

“[The response] brings together multilateral partners and the private sector, which now includes Vodafone to help countries deploy remote learning systems and strategies,” reads the statement.

It added that this initiative is to help minimise educational disruptions and maintain social contact with learners and their parents.

The Director of (U.N.E.S.C.O.) Office of the Pacific States, Ms. Nisha, said that as the organizer of the Global Coalition for response to COVID-19, “U.N.E.S.C.O. mobilizes partnerships, coordinates, matches requirements with resources and helps the partnership provide support.”

She also acknowledged the leaderships of the of Minister of Education, Sports and Culture (M.E.S.C.), Loau Keneti Sio, Chief Executive Officer of M.E.S.C., Afamasaga Dr. Karoline Fuata'i, and Vodafone in turning this challenge into an opportunity.

“While the global situation is not particularly good, it is giving us an opportunity to build partnerships and act in solidarity. 

“These are the factors that have brought the Ministry, Vodafone and UNESCO together around this table today.”

Vodafone Samoa C.E.O., Satish Sharma, said that their investment into the future for the children says a lot about their values and mission.

“Vodafone is all about empowering future generations to be the best they aspire to be. 

“This initiative and free Student Sim have all you need to stay on top of your studies and succeed academically.”

Due to the COVID-10 pandemic, students have had to stay away from schools as a preventative measure.

And this situation represents an unprecedented challenge for the education sector. 

A memorandum of understanding was signed between Vodafone and M.E.S.C. which is now entering into the fourth step of support provision, added the statement.

“U.N.E.S.C.O. is on standby to further support through webinars and virtual meetings and training to assist the teachers plan prepare and deliver education online.”

Loau said that the support from Vodafone makes it possible for these resources to reach our students in the homes where they are confined in during school closure.

“In saying this, the Government of Samoa conveys its sincere appreciation for the support and the partnership that you provide in these critical times.

“With the limited resources and capacity that the Ministry has, working in partnership is the way forward to enable the learning and education that our students and people deserve.

“The signing of this MOU will enhance partnership to achieve delivery and promotion of high quality education and training to meet the national, economic, social and cultural goals of Samoa.”  

The support services provided by Vodafone include: free online access to education for 2020.

“Vodafone will provide each school child with a free Student Sim Card which includes unlimited 4G Data access to a range of approved educational website for a full year of 2020. 

“These sites include; the official Government of Samoa Health and Education portals, National University of Samoa student portals, University of South Pacific student portals, studyladder.com, khanacademy.com, IXL.com.

“The service is for the students in Samoa, studying across all sectors of the education system (Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary) to continue their education in a virtual environment.”

Other services provided include free Vodafone data bonus which will provide each student SIM with a bonus of 1GB free data valid for three days upon each instance of a Top-Up of $5 or more.

“This opportunity is separate to the above option.1 and in no way diminishes from the free student access. This bonus data is to provide students with additional internet access for out of category portals/websites not included as part of option.1 above.

“All students will additionally receive 6GB per month of free access through all Vodafone Samoa Smart Wifi Access Points located throughout Samoa. 

“Vodafone will also work with M.E.S.C. to develop and host a free student e-Learning Portal utilizing the current and future Ministry learning curriculum.”

The Vodafone Samoa Data Centre provides an N+1 Call Centre service in Samoa which links directly to a 33Gbps national backbone throughout Samoa.

“This service will provide: Storage and CPU services on a Vodafone provided VM Service and direct Internet Backbone access at up to 10Gbps for portal access services.

“All services above are provided free of cost by Vodafone Samoa as part of the U.N.E.S.C.O. Global Education Initiative.  

“The estimated value of these free services is around $19 million tala."

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