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From digital learning to the digital workplace: how do we prepare students for the new world of work?

09 Dec 2021
Amit Chakrabarti

Amit Chakrabarti

Head of Vodafone Business Ventures

According to the EU Commission, “schools can have a major influence on the acquisition of digital competencies when digital technologies are integrated as active learning tools”1 .

With growing expectations for employees to be digitally proficient and the evolving challenges of the pandemic, how can digitising the classroom experience better equip children for the future?

Digital disparities

With closures to educational institutions all over the world due to the pandemic, almost half of the world’s students are still affected by partial or full school closures. Over 100 million children now risk falling below the minimum proficiency level in reading as a result of the constraints on education2 .

For many, the switch to online and hybrid teaching came as an entirely new experience and both learners and educators had to adapt quickly.

This highlighted disparities in access to technology, with 42% of Europeans lacking the basics such as the connectivity and devices necessary for remote learning3 , and less than 20% of students attending schools with high speed internet4 . The disparities are even more striking in Africa, where 82% of learners lack internet access and 89% do not have appropriate devices for online schooling5.

The workplace of today

The European Digital Skills survey, conducted by the European Commission, determined that almost all workplaces across EU countries require their managers to possess basic digital skills, and, across high and medium-skilled jobs, this is the case for 90% of workers6. In Africa, half of the current job market requires digital skills7.

Our global Fit for the Future report also identified a number of advantages for those who embrace technology in the workplace, with 56% of companies seeing it as beneficial for job security in five years’ time.

Looking at companies across Africa who recruit internationally for talent, the vast majority do so in order to fulfil the growing requirement for digitally-skilled workers, and in Europe, 15% of workplaces report a digital skills gap between their needs and the current labour market.

As the workplace evolves and becomes increasingly dependent on digitally-enabled employees, now is the time to leverage the power of connectivity and technology to support the education sector in adopting the most effective methods of virtual and digital learning.

To prepare young people for the digital nature of the workplace, we need to equip them with the right tools, from physical devices and network access to mastering new skills.

Cultivating a hybrid classroom

Vodafone Education Decision Maker Research found that two of the biggest challenges for schools trying to incorporate more technology into the classroom were security concerns and lack of IT skills.

The shift to remote and hybrid learning models is fundamentally changing the way we think about education delivery and how students and teachers collaborate. Tackling the key barriers to adopting a digital classroom is essential to enabling a successful hybrid learning experience and equipping students with the skills needed for a digital workplace.

Vodafone Business Ventures’ Connected Education solution takes a six-pronged approach to bringing technology to the classroom, ensuring every school or university we work with has a solution tailored to the needs of their teachers and students.

Combining affordable devices with connectivity from school to home, Connected Education enables a seamless digital learning experience. Devices are equipped with collaboration software and provide access to curriculum-based content. To make the most of this content and get online as quickly as possible, training is available to both teachers and students, with constant access to enterprise-grade IT support.

Importantly, all devices and tools are protected by security software and operate on Vodafone’s secure network, removing the concerns around cybersecurity.

For example, working with St Mary’s School in Ireland, we were able to transform the learning experience for students and teachers.

In this video, some of the pupils explain how the solution has made them feel like they are in the classroom, no matter where they are. They’re connected to each other, even when they’re disconnected in the physical world.

ISSUE From digital learning to the digital workplace

ISSUE From digital learning to the digital workplace

 

ISSUE From digital learning to the digital workplace

 

ISSUE From digital learning to the digital workplace

 

ISSUE From digital learning to the digital workplace

 

Giving learners access to education globally

We want to ensure every child has the best chance of a successful future by providing them with a learning environment that prepares them for tomorrow’s working world. By 2025, we aim to have connected 5 million students using our Connected Education platform.

And we’re pleased with the steps we’ve taken this year.

With a global remit, spanning 12 countries across Europe and Africa, Connected Education is empowering 1.5 million students and teachers a month to learn and collaborate digitally.

Find out how Connected Education can support your institute.

1 https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/parenting4digitalfuture/2018/10/24/young-children-and-the-use-of-digital-technology-across-europe/

2 https://en.unesco.org/covid19/educationresponse

3 https://euobserver.com/social/148629

4 https://digital-strategy.ec.europa.eu/en/news/commissions-focus-access-high-speed-internet-safety-and-skills-what-europeans-want-survey-shows

5 https://mo.ibrahim.foundation/sites/default/files/2021-06/2021-forum-report.pdf

6 https://op.europa.eu/en/publication-detail/-/publication/7a51fb41-92ad-11e7-b92d-01aa75ed71a1

7 https://www.ifc.org/wps/wcm/connect/38390d15-e30e-4d6e-b0d2-bb09f6146efa/Digital+Skills+Report_Flyer_5-22-19_web.pdf?MOD=AJPERES&CVID=mHwcBU8

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