Huawei Technologies and CSR Asia have launched a whitepaper on current use and potential for Information Communication Technology (ICT) in education across China and ASEAN. “The Role of ICT in Realising Education for all by 2030 - Achieving Sustainable Development Goal Four” is the title of the paper. It focuses on the role that technology can play in helping achieve United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) number four (SDG4), which prioritises equitable access to quality education for all ages and aims to fill gaps in education systems worldwide.
The paper explores the current reality of education in the region and the ways in which ICT could help drive positive change in access and quality. In a region with significant economic and social diversity, the greatest leveller, social unifier, and driver of sustainable development in all countries is education. Used strategically, ICT can dramatically enhance education equity, quality and efficiency through its ability to facilitate fast, synergetic and scalable change. However, compared with most developed nations, the region has yet to take full advantage of this opportunity.
The paper provides a framework for action in efforts to re-imagine the learning experience and provide universal access to a quality education. To succeed, there needs to be collective action, and the paper actively urges key players in the educational ecosystem to participate in shaping a better future for education in the region. There is a role for governments, regulators, policymakers, non-governmental organisations, educational institutions, teachers, content and ICT solutions providers, employers, investors and funders.
An inclusive education takes into account the specialised learning needs of vulnerable people including women and girls, children of migrant workers, refugees, children with disabilities, and ethnic minorities. ICT can help all types of learners as it breaks down some of the barriers to a quality education.
“We need to equip today’s learners for tomorrow’s job market,” says Richard Welford, CSR Asia Chairman. “The SDGs have provoked a global call not only to increase access, but also to improve the quality of education for all. Our conversations with a diverse team of education and ICT practitioners highlighted the need to first focus on those receiving little and/or poor quality education in seeking to affect a regional shift in knowledge and skills acquisition. This paper discusses how ICT can help determine how best to proceed with changing education systems and pedagogies for the future.”
According to the paper, quality learning results from addressing all processes within the education system: context of learning, learner characteristics, enabling inputs, teaching and learning support, and outcomes – and then finding ways to improve each process. ICT in education can help streamline education system processes and, thereby, improve the quality of education.
“There is an enormous opportunity through technology to bridge the education gaps and provide inclusive and equitable education for all,” says Holy Ranaivozanany, Head of CSR, Huawei. “Internet connectivity fosters the development of online learning and digital services that enable capacity building and knowledge sharing beyond borders.”
Education is a life-long pursuit, and ICT has advantages in opening up access to lifelong learning programmes. Lifelong learning facilitates the personal development of learners and enhances their employability, social mobility and capacity to be effective in participating in activities designed to improve the quality of life in their communities. Creative learning options come from creating flexible learning spaces, such as interactive websites, chat rooms, web-based courses and online libraries.
“Achieving SDG4 will require the entire region to create and collaborate on ideas and join in on shaping the future of education together,” said Ms Ranaivozanany. “Everyone has a role to play.”
CSR Asia is a mission-driven business creating value for clients and partners in Asia by supporting responsible, inclusive and sustainable business. Their services include sustainability strategy and reporting, and development and community investment. Committed to creating positive change, CSR Asia delivers value through advisory and networks and provides access to a knowledge bank of accessible reports and articles as well as events.
- White Paper: “The Role of ICT in Realising Education for all by 2030 - Achieving Sustainable Development Goal Four”