PARTNERSHIP

Ericsson, UNICEF launch global partnership to map internet connectivity in schools

According to the ITU, 360 million young people currently do not have access to the internet

In Summary
  • Launched last year and led by UNICEF and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Giga aims to connect every school to the internet.
  • In Kenya, they will support the development of educational digital public goods to be rolled out with the introduction of a new competency-based curriculum.
Children using a tablet connected to the internet
Children using a tablet connected to the internet
Image: COURTESY

Ericsson and UNICEF have announced a global partnership to help map school connectivity in 35 countries by the end of 2023 as part of the Giga initiative.

Launched last year and led by UNICEF and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Giga aims to connect every school to the internet.

In East Africa, Giga is working with the governments of Rwanda, Kenya, and Uganda in mapping school connectivity real-time, and developing business models to make connectivity affordable and sustainable.

In Kenya, they’re also supporting the development of educational digital public goods to be rolled out with the introduction of a new competency-based curriculum.

According to the ITU, 360 million young people currently do not have access to the internet.

This results in exclusion, fewer resources to learn, and limited opportunities for the most vulnerable children and youth to fulfill their potential.

Improved connectivity will increase access to information, opportunity, and choice, enabling generations of school children to take part in shaping their own futures.

“The deepening digital divide is one of the many inequalities that the COVID-19 pandemic has underscored,” said Charlotte Petri, Deputy Executive Director, Partnerships, UNICEF.

 “School closures, coupled with limited or non-existent opportunities for remote learning, have upended children’s education worldwide. Our partnership with Ericsson will bring us closer to giving every child and young person access to digital learning opportunities,” Petri added.

In addition to funding, Ericsson will commit resources for data engineering and data science capacity to accelerate school connectivity mapping.

Specifically, Ericsson will assist with the collection, validation, analysis, monitoring and visual representation of real-time school connectivity data.

Ericsson will also engage its extensive customer base to further advance the goals of the Giga initiative.

“Ericsson is uniquely positioned to be a key partner in helping address this important issue due to our technology expertise,” said Heather Johnson, Vice President of Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility, Ericsson.

The UNICEF-Ericsson partnership also contributes to the Generation Unlimited Global Breakthrough on Digital Connectivity that aims to give young people digital skills so they can fully and meaningfully participate in the digital economy.