Realizing Future Intelligent Education to Tackle Digital Divide
Huawei hosted the Digital Talent Summit yesterday in Barcelona as part of the UNESCO World Higher Education Conference. The summit was attended in person or virtually by more than 80 experts from the education sector representing government, academia, industry, and UNESCO. The guests discussed how technology can play a role reinventing higher education for a sustainable future. Ten students from Huawei’s Seeds for the Future program also joined the summit.
UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Education Stefania Giannini and Huawei’s Board Director & Senior Vice President Vincent Peng kicked off the event describing the increasingly important role technology is playing in innovation and education. Giannini said, “We now have to go the extra mile, to bridge the global digital divide that left many behind and to integrate ICT-based solutions into higher education systems or programs. This is key for more than just graduate employability. Digital technology can also contribute to more open, flexible, and connected higher education ecosystems.”
Peng, in turn, called for universities, corporations, and governments to work together for a sustainable and inclusive future. He said, “Digital technology has the potential to rebalance the world’s education resources. We should leverage digital technology to build a more collaborative, open, and vibrant education system.”
Peng also spoke on the initiatives Huawei is pursuing to bridge the digital divide and developing talent ecosystem, including the Huawei ICT Academy project where university-enterprise collaborations help universities train new ICT talent through dedicated courses, training boot camps, and competitions.
“We have partnered with almost 2,000 universities around the world to build Huawei ICT Academies, with a target of training more than 1 million ICT professionals and experts by 2024,” he said. “We hope to improve digital literacy of all through these efforts, supporting sustainable growth of the society and industries.”
ICT Academy is now part of the Huawei Seeds for the Future Program 2.0 launched in 2021. It currently provides scholarships, technology competitions, digital skills training, and women in tech campaigns. The program is an extension of the Seeds for the Future program launched in 2008 which has since benefited 1.54 million people from over 150 countries.
The summit was celebrated with the launch of Seeds for the Future scholarship and a signing ceremony of Memorandum of Understandings with 11 ICT Academies in Europe, Asia Pacific, and Africa.
A number of leaders from the education sector also spoke, including: Markus González Beilfuss, undersecretary for Universities of the Government of Spain; Ivica Šušak, State Secretary, Ministry of Science and Education of Republic of Croatia; Qin Changwei, Secretary-General, National Commission of the People’s Republic of China for UNESCO; and Li Ming, Director of UNESCO-ICHEI.
Šušak in particular addressed the importance of introducing digitalization into the education system by presenting on how digitalization has benefited schools in Croatia. He also laid out a roadmap for digitalization in the area of higher education.
At the event, Huawei and Ernst & Young (EY) also released their first whitepaper on the future of digital skills in Spain. This white paper is one of four white papers Huawei is publishing over the coming months. The next two will address talent development in South Africa and China.
The education sector is changing rapidly as technologies like big data, cloud, augmented reality, virtual reality, and artificial intelligence rapidly make hybrid learning more accessible for all. Huawei’s new whitepaper on education in Spain though indicated that only 13% of companies use those cutting-edge technologies, and the companies that do use them do so primarily for strategic decision-making.
Marc García Tamayo, Senior Manager of EY, “There is an unprecedented opportunity to encourage greater collaboration between the government and companies, so that the government can act as a bridge and encourage greater communication with schools in the development of new skills.”
In panel two, speakers from Institut Teknologi Bandung, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, National University of Singapore, and National Commission For Colleages of Education of Nigeria all shared their views and best practices on ICT talent ecosystem under the Huawei ICT Academy program.