Education under the spotlight
COVID-19 has exacerbated the already significant challenges within the South African education system. As schools continue to re-open, authorities are having to address the problems of lack of water and sanitation as well as the difficulty in observing social distancing in overcrowded classrooms. Amid these challenges, the majority of children will find it difficult to catch up after being deprived of formal education for the last few months due to a lack of access to affordable digital distance-learning alternatives.
We will emerge from COVID-19 lockdown as a different society. There is already a clear indication that our new “normal”, fundamentally embracing digital technology, will be very different to the past. Education is among the many impacted areas that are transforming at a rapid pace.
In response, EOH, in close collaboration with South African company Risk Insights, is making good progress on the group’s commitment to help solve South Africa’s educational challenges by bringing a globally recognised digital education solution to the country.
iON is an end-to-end suite of digital education and assessment solutions which, among others, provides:
- digital school and university platforms with curriculum management, digital learning and turnkey student management and administration capabilities
- a platform for digital learning, development management and assessment in corporates
- a digital examination assessment and marking solution for educational institutions routinely involved in such assessments
iON has been developed by Tata Consulting Services (TCS), a global leader in consulting and software development. The product, which is highly scalable, was initially developed to serve the needs of mass education in India. Globally, there are over 8 million students who have been through classes and/or assessments delivered via the iON digital platform since its launch a few years ago.
“Our lockdown experience has shown exactly how much teaching information can be made available online. With the proper guidance you could never set foot in a classroom and still receive a world-class education, provided you have a base level of infrastructure to make it possible. Our digital education solution has the potential to make education available to everyone, anytime, anywhere,” says Stephen van Coller, EOH Group CEO.
“Our latest offering through our partnership with iON is unique in that it addresses a wide range of needs for both learners and educators and can certainly help to bridge the digital gap in schools and other educational institutions, evidencing our commitment to build education platforms of the future,” he says.
Solving with digital at educational institutions
The key differentiator of the platform is its flexible suite of solutions - from simple, fully secure online learning to a truly end-to-end enterprise digital learning and student management platform that addresses the full lifecycle of learner education required by schools, universities and other educational institutions.
The platform can administer student admissions, manage a digital course curriculum in any format, provide automated examination and grading, and a full suite of logistics and administration support services to the institution. As a modern, open, flexible system, iON allows institutions to use their own content or third-party content and enrich it via access to its global partners – leading universities across the globe.
The customised and cost-effective solution can be deployed quickly to provide relevant and engaging digital learning content for learners, regardless of numbers. It ensures a seamless, affordable yet high quality educational experience for educators and students alike.
“The digitisation and democratisation of education have been accelerated with COVID-19 related measures across the globe. These trends are both inevitable and positive, helping to close the educational gap by making good education accessible to all children and adults. The iON suite of products is perfect to help effect this level of change in South Africa,” says Dr Anuschka Bogdanov, Chief Executive of Risk Insights.
Upskilling employees and maintaining performance excellence
The iON Digital Learning platform is also ideal for corporates wanting to ensure structured digital learning and development programmes to build employee knowledge, skills and accreditations. The solution allows users to conduct secure, virtual business meetings and communicate with employees one-on-one, provides live remote training and interaction with mentors and enables seamless online communication and collaboration between project teams. Combining it with iON’s Digital Assessment solution brings efficiency, remote access and security to the assessment process, helping with certification record-keeping and career development processes routinely required by various state- and privately-owned institutions.
"This extends EOH’s involvement in education, where recently our MPC Connect offering made great strides in the digital learning space when it successfully transitioned an online language training centre into a remote working environment, managing to get 60% of tutors training students in China online at home, in just three days," says Van Coller.
"It is not just schools and institutions that are having to prepare for the fundamental changes that will take place post COVID-19. Companies have also had to reconsider the way they work – everything from employee safety, including social distancing, remote working, fast-tracking digitalisation and importantly, how people are trained and reskilled, while ensuring equal access to opportunities for learning and development. Companies need to ensure that employees remain connected, are tech-literate and are equipped to keep pace with the rapid digital transformation that is already underway," he says.
EOH and iOCO are deeply committed to supporting the country and the economy during this pandemic and in line with our SolveCOVID-19 initiative. We are proud to bring this new platform to the South African corporate and education sectors.
For more information on the solution contact Michael Mann - Michael.Mann@eoh.com.
EOH group remains committed to being a force for good and to assisting South Africa in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. We are proud to be the technology partner to Solidarity Fund initiative. Our COVID-19 solutions are geared to meet the needs of Corporate South Africa and Government in managing a safe, sustained return to the workplace. Our range of crisis management tools, remote working solutions and healthcare offerings include: the Sikhona App - to protect employee wellness and allow for effective management of the controlled re-entry of the workforce; ICUlate – a fully compliant mobile intensive care unit and a range of Telemedicine technologies. These are just some of the innovations designed to support our customers’ transition, diversification and cost optimisation.
About Risk Insights
Risk Insights is a female-owned, level-1 B-BBEE South African company, which among others, identified a necessity to change the old normal in our country in a number of areas such as education, our approach to risk management and new ways to manage Environment, Sustainability and Governance (ESG), recently launching the first AI-based ESG sustainability ratings product for all listed corporates on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.
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