In furtherance of the Giga initiative led by UNICEF and the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) to connect every school to the internet, Ericsson and UNICEF have announced a global partnership to map school connectivity in 35 countries by 2023.
The data generated through the mapping will enable governments and private sector to design and deploy digital solutions that enable learning for children and young people.
In a joint press release they said, “mapping the internet connectivity landscape for schools and their surrounding communities is a critical first step towards providing every child with access to digital learning opportunities.”
This makes Ericsson the first private sector partner to make a multi million-dollar commitment to the Giga initiative as a Global UNICEF Partner for School Connectivity Mapping. Apart from funding, among others, Ericsson will specifically help with the collection, validation, analysis, monitoring and visual representation of real-time school connectivity data.
According to ITU, improved connectivity will increase access to information, opportunity and choice, enabling generations of school children to take part in shaping their own futures.
Charlotte Petri Gornitzka, Deputy Executive Director, Partnerships, UNICEF observed, “the deepening digital divide is one of the many inequalities that the COVID-19 pandemic has underscored.”
She said, “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.”
On her part, Heather Johnson, Vice President of Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility, Ericsson said, “Ericsson is uniquely positioned to be a key partner in helping address this important issue due to our technology expertise, global scale, decades of experience in public/private partnerships and proven results in connecting students and educators.”
According to her, “working together with partners like UNICEF and the ITU amplifies the potential impact of school connectivity and is a concrete first step in helping bridge the digital devide globally.”
ITU’s Telecommunications Development Bureau Director, Doreen Bogdan-Martin speaking on behalf of ITU said, “We are thrilled that Ericsson will join Giga and help build the mapping tools necessary to make connecting every school a reality.”