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.

Written by Paul Landers

Paul is Program Manager for Connect To Learn at Ericsson. He oversees the development and deployment of Ericsson’s ICT solutions in schools across Africa and in other regions of the world. The Connect to Learn project aims to increase student access to education globally, and builds on Ericsson’s commitment to assisting the United Nations Millennium Development Goal of universal education. With experience in both the public and private sector, Mr. Landers has a studied the potential and implementation of ICT in education for over two decades. He started his career as a public school teacher in Ireland focusing specifically on ICT use in primary schools and the development of teacher training programs. Since joining Ericsson in 1998, he has been deeply involved in the creation of corporate eLearning programs both within Ericsson and as a consultant for supporting business partners around the world.

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