Ericsson and the UK Department for International Development (DfID) have joined forces to support girls' education in Myanmar (also known as Burma), by improving access to the internet, delivering teacher training and enabling students to experience a 21st century education.
Both partners have committed to supporting education in Myanmar as a means of addressing the current global crisis in education recognising that this will have positive impacts on the health and wellbeing of girls as well as on their families and communities.
DFID is providing approximately £3.7 million in funding which will be matched by the partners through cash and in-kind contributions. The initiative will allow up to 50 secondary schools to be connected to the internet through mobile broadband.
The initiative will also deliver a comprehensive in-service professional development programme for teachers, and specific educational programme for students, using child-friendly computing solutions to improve literacy and numeracy amongst the female student population.
Up to 600 scholarships will also be provided to marginalised girls, enabling them to stay in school and complete their secondary education. In total, more than 14,000 marginalised girls are expected to benefit from improved learning outcomes, through this initiative.
Ericsson will work with UNESCO, the Earth Institute at Columbia University, Finja Five (an innovative start-up at Lund University), Qualcomm Incorporated, through its Qualcomm Wireless Reach(TM) initiative, and the external evaluator EduEval to deliver this program.
This coalition leverages the strengths and contributions of each partner, which includes UNESCO providing teacher and student training and the Earth Institute implementing a community-driven scholarship programme and conducting research to support a scalable framework for integration of ICT in resource-poor secondary schools.
Finja Five is providing child-friendly computing solutions, while Qualcomm Wireless Reach initiative will cover funding and project management. EduEval is monitoring and evaluating the project.
Justine Greening, UK International Development Secretary, said: "This initiative capitalises on the business and technological expertise of Ericsson so that thousands of girls in Myanmar can realize their full potential and build a better future for themselves and those around them.
“Through better access to the internet, scholarships and continuous improvement for teachers we are giving girls the chance to receive a modern secondary education that would otherwise not be available to them."
Elaine Weidman-Grunewald, VP of sustainability and corporate responsibility at Ericsson, said: "Ericsson is pleased to announce the partnership with the UK Department for International Development. This is our first large scale engagement with a national development agency, and we believe public private partnerships like this can bring scale and impact that would be difficult to achieve by any one partner alone.
“It is also an incredible opportunity for Myanmar, a country undergoing rapid social and economic change, to leapfrog into a 21st Century education and become a part of the Networked Society."
The students of Myanmar will join more than 40,000 students that have already benefited from access to quality educational resources through Connect To Learn, the global education initiative founded by Ericsson, the Earth Institute at Columbia University and Millennium Promise.