How an ICT-focused P3 is opening new doors for marginalized girls

Wed, 2016-06-01 06:00 -- Compassionate C...

There are a lot of bright minds focused on helping empower the 32 million female adolescents in the world that UNESCO estimates are not enrolled in school – either because they're too poor to afford the fees, are needed to work or the risk of danger keeps them away. Yet without education, Qualcomm Wireless Reach Senior Manager Angela Baker notes in a blog post, the young women will likely remain trapped in a cycle of poverty and violence. A promising public-private partnership (P3) in Myanmar underscores what can and should be done to ensure a quality secondary education for every child -- an education that includes the tech skills needed in today's world. -- Philip Bane

In the Southeast Asian country of Myanmar, the World Bank estimates 26% of the population lives in poverty and only about 54% of secondary school-aged children are actually enrolled in secondary school. But a lot of entities have lined up to support a better education for Myanmar children. The partnership includes Qualcomm Wireless Reach, Ericsson's global Connect to Learn initiative, the UK Department for International Development, Earth Institute, EduEval Educational Consultancy, Finja Five, UNESCO, Myanmar Post and Telecommunications, and Myanmar’s Ministry of Education and Ministry of Communications and Information Technology.

It's an ambitious effort. As Baker explains in her post, the goal is to "improve learning outcomes in literacy and numeracy as well as develop the ICT (information and communications technology) skills of more than 21,000 students, half of whom are marginalized girls, by 2017."

Educating educators
The Ericsson Connect to Learn program is focused on those information and communications technologies (ICT) to help students in resource-poor communities acquire skills that will prepare them for today's workforce.

Baker says the Myanmar project launched in June, 2015 in schools that previously didn't even have a basic phone line.

But by the time she visited earlier this year, 155 teachers in 31 schools in three Myanmar states had successfully completed the first phase of their ICT skills training and were integrating ICT into classroom lessons and using the Internet to broaden learning options.

And for those who can't afford school fees? Baker says the program had awarded 600 scholarships to deserving female students to help them stay in school.

Wireless Reach is an initiative by Council Lead Partner Qualcomm to bring advanced wireless technologies to underserved communities globally to strengthen economic and social development.

Read more about the Myanmar project in this Glamour magazine article.

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This article is from the Council's Compassionate Cities initiative which highlights how city leaders and other stakeholders can leverage smart technologies to end suffering in their communities and give all citizens a route out of poverty. Click the Compassionate Cities box on our registration page to receive our weekly newsletter.

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