188.8.131.52 Private sector
Some private-sector companies, mainly in the high-tech arena, provide support for educational connectivity.
Through its EducaRed programme, Fundacion Telefonica promotes the use of ICTs in classrooms. It aims to improve the quality of education and encourage opportunity equality through the use of ICTs in teaching and learning procedures. In the Americas region, the EducaRed programme operates in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, and Venezuela. Fundacion Telefonica is a social-development effort of the Spanish operator Telefonica.
The Aulas initiative within the EducaRed programme specifically focuses on providing connectivity and technological resources for classrooms, as well as capacity training for teachers and students. The Aulas initiative has helped to set up ICT-enabled classrooms in schools and hospitals, so children can continue to have access to education.158
Qualcomm, a U.S. wireless technology and services firm, supports educational connectivity through its Wireless Reach initiative. This effort works with local and international partners to support the use of wireless technologies in developing countries, particularly in the areas of education, entrepreneurship, healthcare, and safety.
In Guatemala, Qualcomm has partnered with the Ministry of Education (MINEDUC), the Fundacion Sergio Paiz, USAID, and the telecommunication operator TELGUA to assist MINEDUC in implementing its Schools of the Future project. Started in 2006, the initial stage of the project is focusing on introducing advanced wireless technology in 400 Guatemalan schools. The project will conduct a review every 18 months to make improvements and to determine the effects technology can have on education. The goal is to use this group of schools as a model that can be replicated at other schools throughout Guatemala. 159
In Indonesia, Wireless Reach has helped to establish computer laboratories that provide Internet access to more than 1,000 students in five high schools. 160
The U.S. semiconductor company Intel supports school connectivity through various projects, primarily through partnerships that have allowed Intel to provide computers and assistance to obtain broadband wireless Internet access. The Intel World Ahead Programme aims to invest over USD 1 billion to improve Internet connectivity, education, and overall computing accessibility in the developing world. Its five-year objectives for the programme include training 10 million teachers to use technology in education, and to provide schools with wireless broadband connectivity. The company has built three computing platforms for developing markets; by employing local service providers and computer manufacturers, Intel is able to sell these systems for 20 per cent below developed-world prices. 161 Intel is also working with New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) to provide connectivity and access in countries across Africa, such as Intel-powered computer labs in Lesotho, assistance with WiMAX broadband connectivity in Ghana, and programmes in Nigeria to encourage purchase of PCs for home use and to train teachers to incorporate technology into instruction.
Meanwhile, Cisco also contributed to the NEPAD e-Schools project by contributing both people and financial resources to implement ICTs in educational institutions across the continent. Additionally, a dedicated Cisco Fellow relocated to Africa to lead a consortium that trained teachers and administrators so that each participating school could make full use of these new capabilities and create a self-sustaining model. By 2008, Cisco’s NEPAD participation benefited 58 schools and approximately 30,000 students. Cisco installed networking equipment for Internet access and satellite connectivity in several schools.162
Cisco led a consortium of companies in this project, in which it promoted the installation of networking equipment for Internet access and satellite connectivity in schools in Algeria, Ghana, Mauritius, Rwanda, Senegal, and South Africa. It also promoted the use of digital educational content and teacher training in these countries. In addition, Cisco has established a Networking Academy programme that trains students to design, build, and maintain computer networks. A number of Networking Academies have been established in Africa in countries such as Ghana, Mauritius, and Nigeria.163
Working closely with worldwide education communities, Microsoft has developed technology, tools, programmes, and solutions to help address education challenges while improving teaching and learning opportunities. In countries like Ghana, Kenya, and South Africa, Microsoft has promoted low-cost access to software for schools. In addition, Microsoft established its Partners in Learning programme and its related Innovative Teachers Network, which supports teacher development projects in a number of African countries.164
Fundacion Telefonica – EducaRed, available at: http://www.fundacion.telefonica.com/educared/
159 Qualcomm-Wireless Reach Initiative, available at: http://www.qualcomm.com/citizenship/wireless_reach/index.html
161 The Intel World Ahead Program. Available at: http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/company-overview/world-ahead.html
162 Cisco supports NEPAD E-Schools demonstration project. Available at: http://www.globalhand.org/en/browse/partnering/6/all/document/20881
163 Infodev Quick guide: ICT in education initiatives in Africa. Available at: http://www.infodev.org/en/publication.347.html
164 Infodev Quick guide: ICT in education initiatives in Africa. Available at: http://www.infodev.org/en/publication.347.html