“Internet for Schools” initiative
Swisscom has been making a substantial contribution to the Swiss education system since 2002; initially as part of the government’s “Internet for Schools” initiative (2002–2007) and since 2008 through its own “Internet for Schools” initiative and in consultation with the relevant public bodies. The “Internet for Schools” initiative is a response to the increased needs of schools and cantons, and so its range of services is constantly being expanded.Goal 4 QUALITY EDUCATION
Thanks to “Internet for Schools”, all primary and secondary schools in Switzerland already benefit from a broadband Internet connection. For some years, the initiative has additionally been helping nursery schools being integrated into junior schools as part of the intercantonal HARMOS concordat to take their first steps into the digital world. Swisscom aims to work together with schools, cantons and federal offices to create an efficient and sustainable architecture for the future ICT landscape of the Swiss education system.
As the cost of a secure, high-performance infrastructure has grown continuously in recent years, schools are now, by agreement with the cantons, contributing to the costs of security solutions such as firewalls and content filters on a user-pays basis. For example, the costs per school for security services for a copper-based connection amount to CHF 780 per year, although Internet access is free.
The desire for network connections with ever increasing broadband capability has grown steadily at schools due to current usage models. Many schools work with cloud-based ecosystems, exploding the flow of data between the Internet and schools. Swisscom has responded to this by opening up further connection possibilities for schools. Schools can now use mobile hotspots or the “Smart Business Connect” product which allows bandwidths of up to 1 Gbps. Swisscom provides schools with this product free of charge.See www.swisscom.ch/sai
Swisscom has continued to press ahead in recent years with networking with various educational establishments. This ensures that Swisscom identifies the needs of schools in relation to ICT integration early. Swisscom cultivates its network through dialogue and events, in particular with the following institutions:
- Education server educa and the Swiss education server educanet
- Swiss Foundation for Audiovisual Teaching Media (SSAB)
- Association of Swiss Teachers (LCH)
- Union of French-speaking Teachers (SER)
- Worlddidac Association
Based on dialogue with these organisations and with a large number of schools, Swisscom has added further services to its package for schools. Schools can use “Storebox” to host the data created as part of their teaching securely and reliably in Switzerland and make it available to all stakeholders at any time. Swisscom also offers schools free use of the videoconferencing service “Skype for Business” from Microsoft.
In recent years, Swisscom has developed the application “Helloclass”, initially on a small scale. Its market success demonstrates that the digital class register satisfies a huge need among primary school teachers. For this reason, Swisscom has re-issued “Helloclass” and now provides it to all Swiss schools – both as a free version or, as required, as a paid version which includes additional functionalities.See www.helloclass.ch