At the peak of the coronavirus crisis, the closure of schools and the need to stay at home has challenged everyone: Education authorities were forced to quickly establish digital learning environments, schools had to implement them and train their teachers, who often did only have little experience with online teaching. Children and parents have been
At the peak of the coronavirus crisis, the closure of schools and the need to stay at home has challenged everyone: Education authorities were forced to quickly establish digital learning environments, schools had to implement them and train their teachers, who often did only have little experience with online teaching. Children and parents have been and are still facing particular challenges. Social inequalities become visible as all children do not have the same access to online learning.
In the context of the current pandemic, Huawei has therefore joined forces with international organisations, private companies and civil society under the domain of the UNESCO to mitigate the impact of closed schools around the world. Inequalities affect developed countries in Europe and developing countries alike. It is the duty of societies to ensure that their youngest and most vulnerable members receive equal opportunities when confronted with this entirely new situation.
But not only children were affected by the unprecedented global shut-down of public life. Universities around the world had to find ways to continue teaching and research efforts. This is why Huawei decided to commit to support higher education by providing US$5 million in funds to colleges for online courses, online training, and online experiments. In addition, more than 130 massive open online course (MOOC) resources are made available, covering AI, Big Data, 5G, and the Internet of Things. Over 100 online Train the Trainer will be provided throughout 2020. The education system provides the foundation for future entrepreneurs and innovators. It is our duty to make sure that the current crisis does not leave behind a lost generation.
Huawei has proven to be a reliable partner for educational institutions and network carriers alike. As video-conferencing and online learning peaked, Huawei has continuously worked with telecommunication network providers across Europe to ensure that transmission networks do not become the bottleneck of the sudden boost in digitisation. The most recent experience has shown that cloud-based teaching needs reliable networks and ICT infrastructure, whether it happens remotely or in a classroom. Huawei promotes innovation and accelerates the upgrading of infrastructure to provide inclusive, convenient and fair educational resources.
Encouraging children to spend more time online, even with an educational intention, does not come without risks. In September 2019, Huawei has therefore launched the SmartBus – a mobile classroom which tours from school to school to educate children about potential dangers of the Internet. Through interactive games and lessons, students can learn about cyberbullying and how to report it, awareness for fake news is risen and students are empowered to fact-check information they find online. The SmartBus has been a success in the Netherlands, Belgium, Portugal and Spain and will continue to provide and important pillar in Huawei’s efforts for a safe intelligently connected world.
The coronavirus pandemic has shown that a swift transformation toward digital inclusion is possible. The pace at which we have succeeded to transform education must be kept up during the years to come. Well before the crisis hit, it has been clear that our educational systems need a sweeping overhaul. Huawei has been making long-term commitments to support educational institutions in Europe according to their individual needs.
In 2011, Huawei has launched the Seeds for the Future program. For almost a decade now, Huawei has been providing scholarships to young European students from over 30 countries. During a two-week study trip to China, which includes a visit to Huawei’s Headquarters, participants get the opportunity to learn at first hand about 5G, Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things. By the end of 2019, more than 5,700 students had participated in this programme.
We at Huawei believe in life-long learning. Huawei will continue to team up with partners from the public and the private sector, in Europe and around the world, to make education accessible to everyone and drive the digital transformation. With the help of technology, no one should be left behind.