In Guangdong, ICT is the future of learning
With about 80 million people, Guangdong is the most populous province in China and has been one of the country’s economic success stories. But not all of its citizens have benefited from that success. In some remote, mountainous areas, access to quality education is still a pressing issue.
Our discussions on education with the provincial government of Guangdong go back to 2011 when Ericsson attended the International Consultative Conference on the Future Economic Development of Guangdong Province. Ericsson’s advisory report recommended using ICT to improve access to, and quality of, education.
This week we were back in Guangdong hosting a knowledge-sharing event on how ICT can improve the quality of education, especially in rural and economically impoverished areas. Sharing our experience from Connect to Learn projects in Africa, South America and the Middle East was a big part of this.
I was there to share some of the challenges we faced when implementing solutions for Connect to Learn, and what struck me was how similar they were to what Guangdong faces today. For example, what role should government and private enterprise play in stimulating and sustaining ICT investments in schools? On this topic, there was particular interest in our experience working in public-private partnerships.
Another key topic was the need to keep technology simple in order to ensure uptake by teachers. I spoke specifically about the use of cloud technology in Connect To Learn as well as IT as a service solution for schools.
The highlight of the trip, however, had to be a visit to Yangtou Junior High School. Located in a particularly mountainous part of Guangdong, this will be the first school to get connected. Starting in December this year, Yangtou will be connected to the internet while we will supply local wireless connectivity as well as equipping the school with an ICT lab and providing training for teachers on the use of ICT.
Teachers at the school expressed their wish of not being left behind the growth experienced in major cities such as the provincial capital Guangzhou. They see the work of this project as helping them to bridge the gap between them and their urban neighbors.