The COVID-19 pandemic has seen billions of children worldwide left out of school due to forced lockdown closures. It means education is currently being experienced differently by every child. New realities that are unlikely to disappear any time soon, as the threat of second waves, future pandemics and the impacts of climate disruption make ‘learning as usual’ more difficult to define.
Many educational institutions have been quick to initiate, or ramp up, online teaching. While free programmes like Earth School have given younger children access to important new resources during the outbreak. Technology has stepped in where it can but what about the billions without the tools or internet access to take advantage?
Connecting every school
One initiative paving the way for the delivery of tech delivered education that leaves nobody behind is GIGA Connect. Led by UNICEF Innovation and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), it is a global mapping platform pinpointing schools across the planet to identify connectivity gaps and connect schools to the internet.
”Digital technologies can dramatically improve the lives of people and communities and deliver on the promise of the United Nations Agenda 2030 to leave no one behind. We all have to work together and increase our efforts to bring technology to the people, in every area and every walk of life,” Doreen Bogdan-Martin, Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau, said via the Giga website.
So far Giga Connect has mapped over 800,000 schools across 15 countries, as it takes the first steps to connect areas currently offline.
“Half of humanity still does not have access to the internet. Billions of people are missing out on the wealth of knowledge and information that — increasingly — can only be found online. More than 360 million young people are excluded from the digital age by poverty, geography or other circumstances beyond their control,” Henrietta Fore, Executive Director, UNICEF, said on the Giga website.
And for those lucky enough to be online, check out some of the distance learning programmes currently available for younger students.
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