At HUAWEI CONNECT 2020, which kicked off on September 23, Kevin Zhang, Chief Marketing Officer of Huawei ICT Infrastructure, addressed the online summit “TECH4ALL: Powering Digital Inclusion with Technology”. He pointed out that Huawei is willing to work with global partners to promote digital inclusion in fields like education and environmental protection through technology, applications, and skills.
As part of its TECH4ALL initiative, Huawei has launched several collaborative projects and events, inclusive of a Global Education Webinar held by the company’s headquarters in June of this year. The diverse audience of leaders and experts from around the world included representatives from the UWI St. Augustine, which has partnered with Huawei T&T on several ICT skills development projects.
Zhang Xinsheng, President of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and Stefania Giannini, Education Assistant Director-General at UNESCO, also spoke at the online summit on September 23. This event brought together partners from various countries to discuss how to drive inclusive education and conserve nature with technology.
Driving Inclusive Education with Technology
The COVID-19 pandemic has intensified the digital divide between the world’s online and offline populations. Up to 1.6 billion students from 106 countries have been affected by school closures, widening the gaps in educational equity and quality.
To help address this issue, Huawei’s TECH4ALL initiative focuses on driving equity and quality in education with technology. As the pandemic continues to spread, Huawei has been working with partners to ensure that learning does not stop for students.
In China, Huawei launched the Learn Anytime Education Alliance together with more than 100 education partners, offering access to various online learning platforms and solutions, reaching over 50 million online students.
Outside China, Huawei – as a core member of the Global Education Coalition launched by UNESCO – has been working with Senegal’s Ministry of National Education and local carrier Sonatel to help local teachers use digital technology to record courses.
At the summit, Stefania Giannini remarked, “UNESCO is working with Huawei to build an Open School System based on technology that will provide an inclusive, equitable, and crisis-resilient education platform in Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, and other countries.”
The Open School System will enable teachers and students to use digital learning resources both in school and out of school. It is anticipated that the project will help Africa address education challenges and ensure education continuity during the pandemic.
For young people in remote areas, a lack of digital skills is a major problem that prevents their integration into the digital world. According to data from the European Commission, 90% of future jobs will require basic digital skills, yet 43% of Europeans don’t have them – a situation that is even more acute in developing countries.
Through Huawei’s TECH4ALL initiative, shipping containers and buses have been converted into mobile classrooms which is called DigiTruck providing training on digital skills required in the future. Since its launch in October 2019 in Kenya, DigiTruck has provided training in digital skills for more than 1,500 students and teachers in remote regions.
Tech for a Better Planet
The pandemic has posed huge challenges to education and also urged us to rethink the relationship between humanity and nature. Zhang Xinsheng, President of IUCN, remarked at the summit, “if properly and smartly used, technology can become an important tool for responding to environmental crises and achieve sustainable development.”
Digital technology can make nature conservation more efficient and help people better understand and protect nature. At the summit, Dr. Feng Limin, an ecologist from the Amur Tiger and Amur Leopard Monitoring and Research Center under China’s National Forestry and Grassland Administration, explained the innovative role that technology plays in protecting endangered species.
With the integration of many technologies including satellite, drones and telecommunications, the Northeast Tiger and Leopard National Park has built a sky-to-earth natural resource monitoring system that covers a large area. Huawei’s innovative 4G networks solution supports the system to transfer data of biodiversity, habitats, and human interference in real time, allowing the conservationists to obtain and analyze real-time data remotely. The information helps them analyze the population and habitat status of endangered species, and provides decision support for the managers of the national park.
From Costa Rica to the Philippines, Rainforest Connection (RFCx), a non-profit rainforest protection organization, is using Huawei’s innovative technologies and upcycled phones to protect the rainforests. These phones have been transformed into solar-powered devices called “Guardians” installed in the rainforests, to detect the sounds of chainsaws and trucks used for illegal logging, greatly increasing forest rangers’ efficiency. These Guardians also collect and analyze animal sounds in the rainforests to protect biodiversity.
By August 2020, the Guardians had been deployed in more than 14 countries, protecting over 3,300 km2 of rainforests.
To explore more possibilities that technology has in protecting nature, Huawei will work with the IUCN on the Tech4Nature programme. The programme will select typical forests and marine ecosystems to apply innovative digital technology solutions in conservation, and provide knowledge, technology and resources for more than 300 protected areas worldwide.
At the end of his speech, Kevin Zhang called on more partners to join the TECH4ALL programme to jointly promote digital inclusion in new ways so that no one will be left behind in the digital world.