Technology giants to support education of marginalised children
Girls' education, Right to education, Sarah Brown, Technology and education, The Global Business Coalition for Education (GBC-Education)
Global Business Coalition for Education members have announced offers including access to satellite technology and tracking children's journeys to school.
Global business leaders have joined forces to provide access to cut-price technology that will improve school system effectiveness and learning outcomes for some of the 330 million children around the world who lack basic skills for the knowledge economy of the future.
The Global Business Coalition for Education (GBC-Education) – a coalition of 140 companies including Avanti, Hewlett Packard, 2-Track Solutions and Safe Buses – announced its first instalment of $15 million offers as part of a three-year technology pledge at the Global Partnership for Education’s funding conference in Senegal today.
Inspired by the work of the GAVI vaccine alliance to collectively reduce the costs of life-saving immunisations, diagnosis and HIV medication, GBC-Education has mobilised its network to negotiate similar agreements between technology companies and national education systems across the world.
Among the negotiated offers is:
- Access to satellite technology, making it possible to connect 1000 rural schools and their surrounding communities in Africa to broadband
- Date collection and technology to guarantee delivery of school supplies and materials to reduce waste and theft
- GPS technology to track school journeys ensuring that children, specifically girls, arrive at school safely
The pivotal GPE conference in West Africa – hosted by France and Senegal – aims to raise the organisation’s funding to $2 billion dollars a year by 2020. These funds will provide 870 million children and young people in low and lower-middle income countries with improved, quality education.
Sarah Brown, Executive Chair of GBC-Education and President of Theirworld, said: “We want to bring tried and tested technology tools to marginalised children. Greater connectivity and innovations in education delivery are a key pillar in solving the youth skills gap.
“Our partners have responded by leveraging a comprehensive package of digital tools that will increase learning opportunities for millions of children.”
The multi-million dollar pledge goes beyond connectivity and online learning – it also aims to improve school management and pupil attendance.
Sarah said: “We have a holistic approach to education. Schools that are able to negotiate the best deals for basic supplies can use school budgets more effectively.
“It’s a sad fact that supplies go missing in transit. Our business partner 2-Track Solutions has created a simple, battery-powered GPS unit that can track shipments of goods. The potential cost-saving to education ministries across the globe is huge.”
The estimated $15 million initial package also aims to increase attendance by making school journeys safer.
SafeBus Inc. CEO, Edward Gillespie, said: “We know that girls are over twice as likely to be out of primary school if they live in a conflict-affected country. Parental fears over the safety of the school bus journey are real.
“We hope our school bus tracking technology will get girls back into the classroom where they belong.”
The benefits of funding education are clear – reductions in child marriage and child labour, economic growth, more stable societies and gender equality, the international aid spend on education has decreased since 2011. 2018 is being recognised as an opportunity to turn this around starting with strong pledges at the GPE meetings in Senegal.
Nate Hurst, HP Chief Sustainability and Social Impact Officer, said: “Ensuring that people have access to technology and the tools to optimise their learning potential is crucial to building an inclusive economy where everyone, everywhere can thrive.
“Our commitment to enable better learning outcomes for 100 million people by 2025 reaffirms our support of GBC-Education’s mission and Sustainable Development Goal 4 to achieve quality, accessible and fully financed education for all.”