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Report: Technology in classrooms can lower poverty and broaden social benefits

This information provided by Smart Cities Council North America.

One of our core focus areas of our Compassionate Cities initiative is upward mobility. We believe technology can play a critical role in improving the lives and prospects of disadvantaged populations. A great example of that comes in a new report from Huawei and CSR Asia, which describes in detail how information and communications technologies (ICT) can drive positive change in access and quality of education in China and ASEAN member states – a key driver of upward mobility. The insights the report highlights, of course, could apply in any region trying to improve education outcomes and a better future. – Philip Bane


Some key points in the Huawei/CSR Asia report -- The Role of ICT in Realizing Education for All by 2030 – are highlighted in an article by Joy Tan, President of Global Media and Communications at Huawei Technologies.

Tan points out that while the Asia Pacific region has some of the world's highest school enrollment rates, enrolling students in school isn't the only challenge. Keeping them there is. She notes that in 2015, less than half of students in Cambodian finished primary school.

"That is both a tragedy for the dropouts and a serious setback for Cambodia and other countries like it," she writes. She cites the broad social benefits that a quality education can deliver – from reducing adult and child mortality, reducing violence and lowering poverty.

Transforming education
So how does ICT factor in? Tan suggests a number of technologies that could transform education in coming years, including:

  • Game-based learning or gamification – applying gaming elements and design to education can make learning fun and, Tan says, inspiring them to learn not just during their school years but throughout their lives.
  • Artificial intelligence – creating customized learning programs that match a student's skills and interests can bolster academic achievement; AI can also help children with disabilities, provide virtual tutors and take some of the burden off overworked teachers, Tan writes.
  • Virtual reality – recreating a physical environment that may be inaccessible to students broadens their understanding of the world and can make learning more fun, for instance, turning a classroom into a museum where they can experience great works of art.

"Used strategically, ICT improves education by providing fast connectivity, and creating new learning platforms that can be rolled out worldwide," Tan writes, adding that governments need to deploy more resources to reach underserved areas and vulnerable groups.

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This article is from the Council's Compassionate Cities initiative which highlights how city leaders and other stakeholders can leverage smart technologies to end suffering in their communities and give all citizens a route out of poverty. Click the Compassionate Cities box on our registration page to receive our weekly newsletter.

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