Huawei has announced expansion of its DigiTruck programme to five additional countries in the next two years, following the success of the pilot programme in Kenya.
This was announced by Huawei’s Deputy Chairman Ken Hu during the Global Education Webinar entitled “Driving Equity and Quality with Technology”, where he emphasized on “connecting schools and skills development as two key ways for Huawei aims to improve equitable and quality education.”
“We believe that everyone, everywhere has the right to education and the equality of opportunity it brings. As a technology company, Huawei wants to help with connectivity, applications and skills by focusing on two important areas of connecting schools and developing digital skills respectively,” said Hu.
In terms of digital skills development, Huawei plans to provide digital skills training for vulnerable groups in remote areas, especially female students, through projects such as DigiTruck in a program called ‘Skills on Wheels.’
Since the launch of DigiTruck in Kenya at the end of last year, it has provided training for more than 1,500 young people and teachers in rural areas. Huawei plans to replicate the program in France, the Philippines and three other countries in the next two years.
“These all solar-powered, mobile classrooms with wireless broadband access can reach even the most remote communities.” Olivier Vanden Eynde, CEO of Close the Gap, the global partner of DigiTruck, said.
The DigiTruck in Kenya is operated by Computers for Schools Kenya and works together with the Ministry of ICT’s Ajira initiative, Safaricom’s Blaze initiative, UNESCO and other partners. Participants learn how to use computers and office software, how to use the internet to find and do work online, how to learn and develop their careers online, how to be safe online, how to buy and sell their goods online.
During the webinar Mr Hu showcased the success of the DigiTruck’s training in Bomet County before the pandemic, and shared a video case study of Sharon Chepng’eno, who is deaf, but who has committed to take the skills she has learned and share them with other people with disabilities.
“The digital skills that the DigiTruck helped provide before the pandemic struck have never been more necessary now that even more of life and work is necessarily happening online. As Kenya’s digital transformation gathers pace, it is critical that every single Kenyan is prepared for this, and our research has shown that digital skills are currently a very significant challenge for many. We thank our partners in Kenya who have enabled Huawei’s first DigiTruck to be so successful that now Huawei is going to scale-up our support to other countries.” Said Mr Stone He, Huawei Kenya Chief Executive officer.
Digital technology plays an important role in education. However, 50 percent of the world’s population still does not have Internet access, and many people lack the skills needed to use digital devices.
The Huawei ICT Academy launched its “Learn ON” program in early April, aiming to address the educational needs of University-based ICT talent affected by the epidemic. The program brings together global university partners and offers college cooperation incentive funds, which can be used for online courses and examinations, online experiments, and provides more than 130 Massively Open Online Courses (MOOC) resources, covering cutting-edge technology fields such as artificial intelligence, big data, 5G, and the Internet of Things.
Here in Kenya 30 Universities are Huawei ICT Academy partners, over 500 students have taken advantage the resources and benefited from the “Learn ON” program.
Director of UNESCO’s Policy and Lifelong Learning Systems, reiterated that “with at least 63 million primary and secondary teachers affected, the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for developing teachers’ capacity to effectively engage in distance learning, which will become part of the education and training provision in the future”.
In addition, participants reached a consensus that public-private cooperation is the key to promoting inclusive education by digital technology.