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 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 also been helping kindergartens to take their first steps into the digital world. These are being integrated into primary schools as part of the intercantonal HarmoS Concordat. 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.
Internet access is free of charge. 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. The costs per school, e.g. for the security services for a copper-based connection, amount to CHF 780 per year.
Schools’ need for increasingly high-bandwidth network connections has grown continuously due to the current patterns of Internet usage. Many schools work with cloud-based ecosystems, exploding the flow of data between the Internet and schools. Swisscom has responded by making further connection options available to schools. Schools can now use mobile hotspots or the Smart Business Connect product, which permits bandwidths of up to 1 Gb/s and is free for schools.See www.swisscom.ch/sai
The number of schools has seen a slight decline, prompted by the closure of schools and nurseries, by the merger of several school sites under a central connection and finally by the decision on the part on some schools to switch to another provider.
In recent years, Swisscom has pressed ahead with its drive to network prominent educational institutions. 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 Swiss education server educanet
- Swiss Foundation for Audiovisual Educational Content (Schweizerische Stiftung für audiovisuelle Bildungsinhalte – SSAB)
- Umbrella Organisation of Teachers Switzerland (Dachverband Lehrerinnen und Lehrer Schweiz – LCH)
- Union of French-speaking Teachers (Syndicat des enseignants romands – SER)
- Worlddidac Association
Discussions with these organisations and with a large number of schools have resulted in additional services. Thanks to Storebox, schools can safely and reliably host the data they generate while teaching in Switzerland and make it available to all participants at all times. Swisscom also offers schools free use of the videoconferencing service Skype for Business from Microsoft.
In recent years, Swisscom has developed the Helloclass application and made it available to selected schools. The feedback shows that the digital class planner fulfils an important need for primary school teachers. Swisscom has therefore relaunched Helloclass and is now making two versions of the application available to all Swiss schools. The basic version is free of charge and a second version with enhanced functions is subject to a charge.See www.helloclass.ch (in German)