One million schools mapped: UNICEF and ITU Giga initiative, with support from Ericsson, takes important step towards connecting every school to the Internet
A year after Ericsson entered into a global partnership with UNICEF to support the Giga Initiative’s school connectivity mapping efforts, the initiative has taken a significant step forward in mapping location and connectivity status of one million schools.
Giga – founded by UNICEF and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in 2019 – aims to connect every school to the internet by 2030 and every young person to information, opportunity and choice.
School mapping is a key pillar of Giga as it helps understand the scale of investments, actions and partnerships needed to bridge the digital divide and provide all schoolchildren around the world with access to digital learning opportunities. .
Ericsson’s support for the initiative is in line with the company’s vision of creating a world in which unlimited connectivity improves lives – including educational and learning opportunities – redefines business and paves the way for a sustainable future.
Over the past year, Ericsson has provided funds and applied data science to help map Internet coverage in schools in seven countries. With contributions from several partners, this has helped Giga speed up mapping work and pass the one million school mark. As part of this partnership, Ericsson is committed to helping map connectivity in schools in 35 countries by the end of 2023, supporting Giga’s ambition to map every school in the world.
School connectivity creates opportunities and promotes inclusion
Giga assumes that connecting schools to the Internet is one of the most effective ways to improve life chances. Through school connectivity, children have access to a wider range of information, a range of learning styles and receive a higher level of education.
The improved learning and understanding of technology that results from internet-based education is vital for improving digital literacy and bridging the digital divide. A workforce that has been trained to this higher standard is more likely to be innovative and foster innovative ideas, leading to economic development and job creation.
The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) report – Connecting Learners: Narrowing the Educational Divide – sponsored by Ericsson in support of UNICEF, found that countries with poor broadband connectivity have the potential to achieve up to 20% GDP growth by connecting schools to the Internet, if access is affordable and accompanied by investment in skills, content and devices.
While progress has been made in the first year of the partnership, to meet this global challenge, collective action is needed. Ericsson calls on Internet service providers and politicians to join Giga and donate their time and resources to accelerate the reduction of the digital divide.
Heather Johnson, Vice President, Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility, Ericsson, says: “According to ITU, 369 million young people do not have access to the Internet and 260 million children between the ages of 5 and 16 do not have access to the Internet. not in school. This results in exclusion and fewer resources to learn and limits the future potential of many young people. Mapping schools is a crucial first step in connecting every school to the internet and every student to opportunities and choices. “
Johnson adds: “This milestone of more than one million schools mapped is a testament to the power of public-private partnerships. This is the first step towards achieving universal school connectivity. But there is still a long way to go and the industry must unite to play its role in bridging the digital divide. “
Building on a decade of digital inclusion
For more than a decade, Ericsson has worked to promote digital inclusion and increase educational opportunities around the world. Ericsson’s partnership with UNICEF, in support of Giga, reflects the ambitions of Ericsson Connect To Learn, which aims to empower teachers, students and schools to provide quality education accessible to all through technology.
This partnership with UNICEF has seen Ericsson commit resources for data engineering and data science capacity to accelerate school connectivity mapping. Ericsson provides technical expertise and assistance in the collection, validation, analysis, visualization and monitoring of school connectivity data. This data enables governments and the private sector to design and deploy digital solutions that enable online learning for children and youth.
Chris Fabian, Giga Co-Head, UNICEF, says: “Ericsson’s expertise has helped Giga’s data science team create better models of school connectivity. Technical partnerships like this are essential for Giga as we create an open source resource of school locations and connectivity that, to date, includes over one million schools.
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NOTES TO EDITORS:
Ericsson enables communication service providers to take full advantage of connectivity. The company’s portfolio covers the Networks, Digital Services, Managed Services and Emerging Business business areas. It is designed to help our customers go digital, increase efficiency and find new revenue streams. Ericsson’s investments in innovation have brought the benefits of mobility and mobile broadband to billions of people around the world. Ericsson shares are listed on Nasdaq Stockholm and Nasdaq New York. www.ericsson.com
ABOUT THE GIGA INITIATIVE:
Launched in 2019, Giga is a global initiative to connect every school to the internet and every young person with information, opportunities and choices. It is a broad partnership led by UNICEF and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and mobilizes the commitment and leadership of governments, businesses, civil society, technology providers, donors and financial experts. Giga maps school connectivity in real time, creates innovative funding models and helps governments contract for school connectivity. As a global partner of UNICEF, Ericsson supports Giga’s work to map connectivity levels in schools. https://gigaconnect.org
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