BY: Simnikiwe Mzekandaba, IT in Government Editor.

Mobile World Congress 2023: A new partnership will see Unesco’s Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL) and Chinese technology company Huawei advance the use of technology to raise literacy.

Huawei will become an associate member of the Global Alliance for Literacy, commonly referred to as GAL − a platform of 30 countries committed to improving the literacy of youth and adults.

This was announced at yesterday’s Digital Talent Summit, co-hosted by Huawei and UIL, in the lead up to Mobile World Congress 2023, in Barcelona, Spain.

Huawei will fund an expansion of the UIL’s ongoing initiatives to enhance educators’ use of technology in developing countries. The UIL initiative currently operates in Bangladesh, Côte d’Ivoire, Egypt, Nigeria and Pakistan.

UIL director David Atchoarena explained that empowering learners with literacy skills remains a huge challenge, and despite global efforts today, 763 million youth and adults worldwide still lack basic literacy and numeracy skills.

“Our rapidly-changing world calls for concerted efforts and strong partnerships to achieve quality education and lifelong learning for all,” he states.

“Huawei’s expertise in the area of innovation in learning will be a great asset to the Global Alliance for Literacy. Collaborative projects such as ours will ensure no one is left behind on this journey.”

According to Huawei, its own goals align with GAL’s vision of eradicating digital illiteracy in young people.

Over the years, the company has initiated a range of programmes to further global ICT talent education, including its Seeds for the Future project.

Introduced in 2008, Seeds for the Future is Huawei’s global talent initiative, initially designed to foster tech-savvy youths who are resilient against real-world headwinds. Since its introduction, it has reached more than 2.2 million youths in over 150 countries, including South Africa.

In SA, Huawei partnered with the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies in 2016, to run the ICT training programme locally.

Over the course of the training, participating students learn about technologies such as 5G, cloud, artificial intelligence and the internet of things, and are also introduced to Chinese culture and language, to foster cross-cultural understanding.

Vicky Zhang, VP for corporate communications at Huawei, explains: “Getting the right education is often the key to success in life. As a major player in the technology sector, Huawei feels it has a responsibility to provide technology skills in all parts of the world, trying our best to include as many people as possible. We are proud to join forces with Unesco to better deliver on this responsibility.”


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