Ending bandwidth poverty at TVET colleges

SABEN promotes broadband connectivity to improve teaching, learning, and management at TVET colleges nationwide
Ending bandwidth poverty at TVET colleges

To forge a knowledge economy South Africa needs a skilled and capable workforce. A workforce comfortable with digital technologies and able to combine and recombine available information to produce creative solutions to shifting challenges. Key to the restructure of the education system towards this goal is access to high-speed internet for all learners, students and staff. To this end, South African Broadband Education Networks (SABEN) is working to provide high capacity bandwidth for schools and colleges.

The first leg of this project is the provision of connectivity to South Africa’s Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges in South Africa: the TVET Campus Connection Programme (TCCP). This connectivity will provide a minimum of 200Mbps speed with no data shaping or limitation.

Several campuses have already gone live on the network, including those of False Bay TVET College, Ekurhuleni East TVET College, and the Northern Cape Rural TVET College. As 2020 moves into its last quarter, the TCCP team are working tirelessly to connect a further 100 campuses before the end of the year.

SABEN is a subsidiary of the Tertiary Education and Research Network of South Africa (TENET) and was established in 2015 with the mandate to end bandwidth poverty among South Africa’s schools and colleges. To achieve this, it partners with the South African National Research and Education Network (SANReN) and forms a part of South Africa’s National Research and Education Network (NREN), serving as the sole provider of NREN services to public TVET colleges in South Africa.

An NREN is a specialised Internet service provider dedicated to supporting the unique needs of the research and education communities within a country. SABEN provides TVET colleges access to the SANReN network, separate from the commercial internet, which offers high-speed connectivity designed for the needs of teachers, researchers, and students. It is engineered to support high-quality services that remain consistent regardless of the number of users on the network, and can accommodate sudden spikes in traffic.

“Access to South Africa’s research and education network will better equip TVET colleges to improve their transformative potential, and meet the demands of industry in the fourth industrial revolution,” says Helga van Wyk, Project Lead of the TVET Campus Connectivity Project.

“SABEN’s vision is to provide the best possible service at all times, and to continue to grow our service offerings in line with international best practice and the changing needs of education in South Africa.”