A virtual inauguration ceremony of Bridging the Digital Education Divide to Reduce the Gap is held on July 8, 2020. (Photo courtesy of Huawei Technologies Limited)
"We hope that online learning will solve the gap that the pandemic has caused in the education system. Providing schools with internet access and digital technology can bring learning resources to remote and disadvantaged communities and ensure greater opportunities for students around Bangladesh," said Zhang Zhengjun, CEO of Huawei Technologies (Bangladesh) Limited.
DHAKA, July 10 (Xinhua) -- Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in Bangladesh in March, all the schools have been shut down to maintain social distancing, and it leads to millions of children to be out of the education system.
Numerous schools across the South Asian country have restarted its teaching through distance learning.
However, a higher percentage of the student population in Bangladesh do not have access to digital technology.
Thus, digital technology with complimentary access to devices can transform education and increase the rate of literacy across the nation even during the pandemic.
Chinese telecoms giant Huawei has partnered with local online learning platform Bijoy Digital to provide digital solutions to Dhaka's T&T High school and its branches across Bangladesh to facilitate distance learning.
Officials said that Bridging the Digital Education Divide to Reduce the Gap, a project formed under the partnership, will aid Huawei smart devices along with Bijoy Digital app and connectivity to pre-school to Grade 4 students.
"This initiative will help us to have alternate ways of learning, and we are very excited about it," said Limon Khan, a student of T&T Boys High School in Dhaka.
Iftekhayrul Islam, a teacher of the school, said, "This great initiative will help students to continue their learning. In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, we were facing various adversities to continue our educational activities during this time of turmoil."
The project, announced at a virtual inauguration ceremony on Wednesday, received collaborative support from the UNESCO Office in Bangladesh.
Bangladeshi Minister of Posts, Telecommunications and Information Technology Mustafa Jabbar, who attended the ceremony as the chief guest, said, "Since the outbreak of COVID-19, numerous educational institutions around the nation have closed down to prevent further spread of the virus."
Thus, the Bangladeshi government has been relentlessly working to find and apply alternate ways to ensure the continuity of learning.
"I find so much confidence when I see Huawei is realizing the facts in the education sector and collaborating with local and UN organizations to distribute digital solutions to the students who do not have access to study," the minister said.
"This will be one important part of ultimately accelerate the progress of digital transformation in Bangladesh."
The project will start with T&T Boys High School in Dhaka before moving forward to other schools in two years.
Huawei will provide Huawei Tab (Huawei MediaPad T3 10) to students and teachers in T&T Boys High School to empower the process of digital education.
Bijoy Digital will enable students to follow the national curriculum of Bangladesh in a digital innovative way. All the tabs will have pre-installed Bijoy Digital apps.
By February 2021, the entities will ensure to provide the digital solutions for two other schools and will finish the project in August 2022.
Secretary of Bangladeshi Posts and Telecommunications Division Nur Ur Rahman said, "By making good education accessible, everyone can unlock their potential, paving the way for healthy socio-economic development. This initiative will greatly help our students in this period as well as in the long run."
Rafiqul Matin, managing director of Bangladesh Telecommunication Company Limited (BTCL), said, "T&T schools have been spreading the traditional way of education for many years and now this project will facilitate our students to enter into the digital education system."
Beatrice Kaldun, head of office and UNESCO representative to Bangladesh, said, "In order to reach each and every learner in Bangladesh, including those that are of high risk to be left behind, we all need to work together."
"By working together we can tackle and overcome learning content and connectivity gaps and thus allow learners to continue their learning during this unprecedented difficult time of COVID-19."
In 2019, Huawei launched the TECH4ALL initiative, which is aimed at promoting digital inclusion for both individuals and small businesses by focusing efforts on connectivity, applications and skills. Huawei has stepped up its efforts through this project in support of UNESCO's Global Education Coalition, set up to tackle the global challenges impacting education due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Zhang Zhengjun, CEO of Huawei Technologies (Bangladesh) Limited, said, "Huawei, since its start of operation in Bangladesh, has been honored to be a part of the Digital Bangladesh journey."
"We believe everyone in everywhere has the right to education and the equality of opportunity it brings. We hope that online learning will solve the gap that the pandemic has caused in the education system. Providing schools with internet access and digital technology can bring learning resources to remote and disadvantaged communities and ensure greater opportunities for students around Bangladesh."
"Mankind has overcome various global crises in the past, and as history has taught us, that if we stay resilient, then we will also overcome this crisis too. It is all about taking the right initiatives at the right time and adapting accordingly," he added. ■