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The new programme seeks to better understand school connectivity in 35 countries by the end of 2023

In the modern world of smartphones and digitalisation, many of us take for granted that the generations following our own will be more tech savvy than we are. But in many countries around the world, this is not necessarily the case. 

According to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), around 360 million young people do not currently have access to the internet, greatly limiting their ability to integrate in an increasingly digital world.

That is why Ericsson has teamed up with UNICEF to help map the connectivity landscape for schools and their surrounding areas in 35 countries by the end of 2023. Once a greater understanding of current connectivity can be established, goals can be put in place to improve internet access in the most lacking areas.

“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 at 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.”

Mapping school connectivity is just one part of an umbrella scheme called Giga, launched last year by UNICEF and the ITU, which seeks to connect all schools to the internet. 

Ericsson is reportedly the first partner to make a multimillion-dollar commitment to the project, as well as committing resources for processing the data generated to make it as useful as possible for governments and the private sector when developing digital solutions.

The digital divide exists in many forms, but training the next generation to use technology effectively is at the heart of tackling this issue, hoping to give everyone the maximum opportunities presented by such vast connectivity. 

 

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