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Driving Equity and Quality in Education

Knowledge and skills are the cornerstone of progress. ICT promotes equal access to education and serves as the building block for developing digital skills. In education, Huawei focuses on four types of programs: Skills on wheels, Connecting schools, Empowering the unempowered, and Building a thriving ICT talent ecosystem. Together with its partners, Huawei is committed to providing equal access to high-quality educational opportunities for people of different regions and groups using ICT.

STORY-DigiTruck: Building a Road to Digital Skills

A recent World Bank report estimates that 230 million jobs in Sub-Saharan Africa will require digital skills by 2030, as the global digital economy continues to develop rapidly. This sits in stark contrast to the widespread lack of digital skills in the region. Even in Kenya, where ICT infrastructure is relatively mature, less than 50% of people use the Internet. This is not just because over 75% of Kenyans live in remote areas without a stable power supply. It is also because many people do not realize the economic value of digital skills and have never used a smartphone or been online before.

Change starts with a truck

To help Kenyans in remote rural areas improve their digital awareness and digital skills, Huawei set up the DigiTruck mobile digital classroom in partnership with the Belgian nonprofit organization Close the Gap, the UNESCO Regional Office for Eastern Africa, GSMA, Computers For Schools Kenya (CFSK), and the Kenyan telecom carrier Safaricom.

DigiTruck is the latest program under Huawei's TECH4ALL initiative that supports access to high-quality education. It focuses on providing digital skills training for rural teachers, unemployed young people, and women in Kenya. Huawei's DigiTruck is a shipping container that has been converted into a mobile digital classroom. The 12-meter classroom is equipped with smart devices like laptops, LED screens, virtual reality (VR) headsets, smartphones, and routers. Students can use smartphones and laptops to learn Internet skills thanks to wireless broadband access. The entire truck is solar-powered, so classes can be held in remote areas that lack a power supply.

"With the different DigiTrucks, we have been able to reach even the most isolated communities that have little or no access to ICT, bringing quality training and education to these areas," said Olivier Vanden Eynde, Founder and CEO of Close the Gap, "This will make a positive impact on the lives of Kenyans."

DigiTruck has hugely benefitted local communities in a number of ways: Local residents better understand the benefits of digital skills. Teachers in villages can use digital technologies so that students can access the world of digital information as early as possible. Young entrepreneurs can study e-commerce and earn more revenue through the Internet. Rural women can become more financially independent thanks to computer technologies.

DigiTruck has benefited 796 people from five counties in Kenya. In the future, DigiTruck will provide digital skills training to more people in remote regions.

Allowing more African people to benefit from digital technologies

An African proverb holds that, "We go fast alone, but we go farther together." Huawei's DigiTruck and its entire digital inclusion initiative rely on the extensive support and assistance of its partners. At HUAWEI CONNECT 2019, Huawei and the UNESCO Regional Office for Eastern Africa signed an MoU and announced the plan to make digital skills and AI capabilities accessible to everyone in Africa. The partnership will focus on areas like DigiTruck, regional forums and events, the Huawei ICT Academy program, and digital skills research to help East African countries improve their ability to adopt AI and digital technologies. These initiatives will also drive progress towards reaching the SDGs.

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STORY-StorySign Helps Deaf Children Learn To Read

In 2019, StorySign, an AI application powered by HUAWEI HiAI, continued to empower more children and families. Users simply scan the words on a page of a storybook. The text is then uploaded to the app. A cartoon figure appears on the screen and the words are translated into sign language. The app takes away much of the challenge that deaf children normally face when learning to read.

In 2019, the app became available in 14 different sign languages (English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, etc.), featuring 69 popular children's books. Huawei also brought StorySign to iOS in 2019, making it available to more deaf children and their families.

"The support that we have received from Huawei to date has had a genuine impact on deaf children and their families," said Mark Wheatley, Executive Director of the European Union of the Deaf. "Through our ongoing partnership, we are continuing to work closely to ensure that StorySign reaches as many families and communities as possible, helping us get one step closer to our shared ambition of helping more deaf children learn to read." 

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STORY-SmartBus: Empowering Young People Online in Europe

The Internet is an integral part of the lives of digital natives. In Europe, Internet penetration is around 90%, with almost 90 million children under 18 regularly surfing the web.

For all its incredible benefits, the Internet can be a risky place for young people. Cyberbullying and privacy protection are just two of the issues they face – issues that will only grow as people spend more time in the digital world. They need to be supported by parents, schools and the tech industry to increase the levels of necessary skills to navigate the online world in a safe and productive manner.

Teaching children how they want to be taught

To address cyberbullying and privacy protection, Huawei has worked with children's rights and cyber security training organizations in Europe to roll out the SmartBus project.

SmartBus is a mobile, Wi-Fi-equipped digital classroom that provides an engaging, interactive, and fun learning environment for children between the ages of 11 and 15.

The project team designed multiple courses on cyber bullying and privacy protection. The courses help these children learn about how their personal data can be possibly leaked without their knowledge when they are online, especially through social media. And with real-world examples, students learn about true and false information on the Internet as well as the precautions they need to take to stay safe online. SmartBus also guides students on how to cope with cyber bullying and where they can turn for help.

SmartBus: A mobile, Wi-Fi-equipped digital classroom

Since October 2019, the SmartBus project has run in Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, and Portugal. SmartBus has visited 126 schools in 79 cities, offering interactive learning to over 20,000 students and 5,000 parents and teachers. To ensure all children are protected, the SmartBus project team has also adapted their curriculum for special education schools.

Janice Richardson, a children's rights protection and cyber security education expert, said, "Extensive research has been carried out to understand what children are doing online and to ensure that SmartBus addresses their needs. This has helped us to define new educational approaches, which we intend to further develop during and after the tour."

Protecting young people online starts with empowering them with knowledge. As the SmartBus initiative expands throughout Europe and further afield, Huawei is working with schools and governments to help equip digital natives with the knowledge they need to stay safe online.

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Students learning how to stay safe online on the SmartBus

STORY-Bringing ICT Education and Employment Closer Together

The ICT industry is knowledge-intensive and highly dependent on talent, requiring a continual stream of new talent to keep it strong. The Chinese ICT industry will suffer a shortfall of an estimated 12.46 million ICT professionals in 2020, including 9.04 million in emerging fields such as AI, cloud computing, and big data. This is where Huawei ICT Academy comes in.

ICT Academy: Bridging gaps for the future

Launched in 2013, Huawei ICT Academy provides training on ICT technologies to university students worldwide and encourages them to participate in our certification programs. The academy aims to develop local ICT talent to meet future demand and build a sustainable talent ecosystem. In collaboration with global universities, we have developed an end-to-end talent supply chain involving training, certification, and employment, which promotes industry development and meets the needs of enterprises.

As of December 2019, Huawei had worked with 938 universities in 72 countries and regions to help develop teaching materials, train teachers, build labs, and certify students. In 2019 alone, Huawei trained over 45,000 students.

Huawei also launched the ICT Competition in which university students from around the world can compete and interact, helping them apply what they've learned and seek employment in ICT more easily. In May 2019, Huawei's fourth ICT Competition was held in collaboration with more than 1,600 universities worldwide, attracting over 100,000 university students from 61 countries. Huawei provided free courses and learning materials for all participants, and helped them prepare for the competition online. Outstanding participants were also offered internships and employment opportunities at Huawei.

Huawei-organized AI training at the headquarters of the International Telecommunication Union

Huawei certification: Developing standards for cultivating talent

Huawei provides a leading talent development system and certification standards. Its certification system consists of ICT Infrastructure Certification, Platform and Service Certification, and ICT Vertical Certification. We have worked with over 100 global training partners to provide ICT training and talent certification services worldwide. By the end of 2019, Huawei had certified more than 260,000 ICT professionals, more than 11,000 of which became Huawei Certified ICT Experts (HCIEs). It is estimated that Huawei will have trained over 1 million certified professionals for the ICT industry by 2024.

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Huawei-organized AI training at the headquarters of the International Telecommunication Union