Photo credits: EU/ECHO/Jonathan Hyams
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) announced its first installment of $15 million, as part of a three-year technology pledge at the Global Partnership for Education’s financing conference in Senegal on February 2.
Inspired by the work of the GAVI vaccine alliance to collectively reduce the costs of life-saving immunizations, diagnosis, and HIV medication, the Global Business Coalition for Education has mobilized 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 1,000 rural schools and their surrounding communities in Africa to broadband. Additional offers include: data collection, technology to guarantee delivery of school supplies and materials to reduce waste and theft; and GPS technology to track school journeys ensuring that children – specifically girls – arrive at school safely.
The pivotal meeting in West Africa – hosted by France and Senegal – aims to raise GPE’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, said: “We want to bring tried and tested technology tools to marginalized 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 Brown 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 dollar 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.”
Despite the clear benefits of funding education – 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 recognized 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 optimize 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 UN SDG 4 to achieve quality, accessible and fully financed education for all.”
To learn more about how your business can support the Global Partnership for Education, check out the following blog post. In addition, you may email Catalina at email@example.com for more information.