By Emma Okonji
Huawei has stepped up its support in education through its TECH4ALL initiative that is empowered to tackle the global challenges faced with online education.
At a recent global webinar organised by the organisation to address distant learning, with the theme: ‘Driving Equity and Quality in Education with Technology’, the Deputy Chairman, Huawei Technologies, Ken Hu, said the closure of schools, occasioned by the spread of Covid-19, has disrupted the global educational system, which he said, necessitated the need for distant and online learning, which the company is supporting through the initiative that was launched last year.
Hu, however decried the situation where 50 per cent of the world population have no internet access to support distant learning, coupled with the high cost of technology devices and lack of digital skills in most regions of the world.
“There is lack of digital inclusion in education and the gap is on the increase because technology is changing so fast. Promoting equal access to education is a big challenge, even though it is not impossible.
“Huawei has the technology tools and resources needed to create a global change in education. Huawei as a technology company will continue to provide connectivity to address the identified gaps in our global educational system.
“The goal of Huawei’s TECH4ALL initiative is to ensure that everyone benefits from digital technology, and we are focusing on developing digital skills and connecting schools.”
The Education ADG at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), Stefania Giannini, said global education needs more resources that are driven by technology like internet connectivity.
According to her, technology needed to be integrated to learning in order to improve teaching and learning.
“In this period of COVID-19, we need universal internet connectivity that will drive learning continuity in our schools globally in order to promote digital skills among students and teachers.
“Digital technology has the potential to make learning more engaging and to improve quality. The right technology tools will help achieve the right digital skills that the world needed in the new normal that has been brought by COVID-19,” Giannini said, while calling on governments, the private sector, and parents to support distant learning through technology education.
She commended the efforts of Huawei in investing in education to support distant learning in a technology connected future environment.
Chief Marketing Officer at GSMA, Stephanie Lynch-Habib, said the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted global educational system with the closure of schools that is affecting millions of students worldwide. Citing the United Nations (UN) report that 166 countries have closed their schools up to the university level, a situation, she said, had affected 1.5 billion children that are out of school globally as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, representing 87 per cent of total enrolled population of students globally.