Computer hardware maker Hewlett-Packard (HP) Friday launched the HP Innovation and Digital Education Academy (IDEA) in collaboration with Umlambo Foundation, a non-profit focused on improving the quality of public schools in South Africa and Mirai Partners, an education innovation consultancy.
The newly launched program offers educators in the country the opportunity to create digital capabilities based on educational frameworks from leading global universities.
“We are committed to the continual integration of technology in our schools,” said Bradley Pulford, Vice President and Managing Director for HP Africa.
He added that HP IDEA will enable educators to acquire the right skills to take advantage of blended and digital learning solutions, with the education system in South Africa being under a lot of pressure due to the COVID-19 lockdowns in the country.
“This was especially the case in public schools where closures significantly disrupted the lives of learners and educators when it came to teaching and learning methods. The program focuses on pedagogy rather than specific products. This way educators can be equipped with the latest tools and best practices in teaching and learning, which in turn will enable better learning outcomes for learners”.
Dr Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women, said that while the organisation appreciates the benefits that digital education brings, the world must become mindful of the inequalities that it also presents in communities and schooling systems.
“We need to remain determined to achieve an equitable and sustainable plan in all schools. The HP IDEA program will give educators the needed opportunity and expertise to be equipped for a blended and digital learning solution and navigate new territories as they balance in-person, online, and blended learning.”
Christine Nasserghodsi, Co-founder of Mirai said the firm has been supporting schools in their response to COVID-19 since February 2020.
What began as a crisis response has evolved into a long-term approach to teaching and learning and the use of digital tools and resources.
“Effective distance and hybrid learning require innovation and a deep understanding of learning design, one aspect of this is the use of technology. No one is better equipped to shape the future of education than teachers and school leaders. That is the core value of the HP IDEA program which we have translated into a year-long program for select schools,” she noted.
The program delivers on the United Nation’s Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs), the CESA objectives (Continental Education Strategy for Africa), the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) and the Ministry of Education goals for UAE. The academy also incorporates world class research and frameworks from Harvard Graduate School of Education and University of Michigan.
Two programs for participating schools will be made available by HP Inc.:
• HP IDEA Fellow – A one-year pathway for a select cadre of innovative practitioners and instructional leaders. It is an immersive teacher development program designed to enable teachers, leaders, and students to develop and access new learning modalities in select schools in South Africa. Participating schools select 3-6 teachers and instructional leaders to shape practice at the school level through four conferences and weekly learning sessions.
• HP IDEA Associate – This includes focused coursework, designed by HP IDEA Fellows under guidance from Mirai & HP. All staff members at the participating schools will have the opportunity to become HP IDEA Associates by engaging in turn around training developed and delivered by HP IDEA Fellows.
HP IDEA is a part of HP’s commitment to enable better learning outcomes for 100 million people globally by 2025. The program has been launched in nine other countries across Middle East, Africa and Central Asia: the UAE, Egypt, Oman, KSA, Qatar, Kazakhstan, Nigeria, Ghana, and Rwanda.
HP also has a series of educational programs such as the recently announced Classroom of the Future, HP Learning Studios, Campus of the Future, and HP LIFE, that accelerate blended learning.