UNICEF partners with Ericsson to map school Internet connectivity

nesa by makers USp4Gzr Hdw unsplashEricsson and UNICEF have partnered to help map school connectivity in 35 countries by the end of 2023

Mapping the Internet connectivity landscape for schools and their surrounding communities represents a critical first step towards providing access to digital learning opportunities for every child.

This joint effort is 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.

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

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

In addition to funding, Ericsson will commit data engineering and data science capability resources to speed up the mapping of school connectivity. In particular, Ericsson will assist in collecting, validating, analysing, monitoring and visual representation of data on real-time school connectivity.

The data generated by the mapping will enable governments and the private sector to design and deploy digital solutions that will allow children and young people to learn. Ericsson will also engage its extensive client base in further advancing the Giga initiative’s goals.

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

Generation Unlimited is a global multi-sector partnership that addresses the urgent need for expanded educational, training and youth employment opportunities. Furthermore, the association supports the recent COVID-19 Agenda for Action by UNICEF, in which the organisation called for global action to keep children learning, thus requiring priority for Internet connectivity in rural and remote areas.

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