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Thomas Xu, President, Global Government Sales, Enterprise BG, Huawei, talks to SmartCitiesWorld about the need to accelerate the digital journey of the education industry.
Today’s education is ever more personalised and ever more hybrid with new digital models emerging across the board in classrooms, research labs and administrative offices. Intelligence and the cloud are increasingly critical, supported by fresh innovations and information communications technology that are transforming the education industry. It’s clear that the future of intelligent and digital education has arrived and to discuss this, SmartCitiesWorld talks to Thomas Xu, President, Global Government Sales, Enterprise BG, Huawei.
The education sector is seeking solutions that are far more diversified, support on-demand educational support and services, as well as those that improve both the quality and equity of education, and this is where digital transformation can make a difference, believes Xu.
“Through the adoption of all kinds of latest technologies like big data, cloud, augmented reality, virtual reality and artificial intelligence, we can empower education,” he says. “This will allow for on-demand learning and learners will be able to receive education in a way that suits them best, despite cultural and geographic barriers. It can also be adjusted to the specific needs of each individual, thus improving the quality and equity of education.”
An advocate of digital transformation in the education sector, Xu also emphasises that, to truly help every learner through technology, it is important to tackle the digital divide that exists in parts of the world. Despite a global internet penetration of 59.5 per cent, he stresses that, with the imbalance of technology investment, there is still a huge gap between developed and developing countries. “We need to be mindful of this when discussing digital transformation in education.”
Data from UNESCO echoes such observations and is deeply troubling: 262 million children and young people are currently out of school; six out of 10 are not acquiring basic literacy and numeracy skills after several years at school and 750 million adults are illiterate. “This is fuelling poverty and marginalisation,” says Xu. “There is still a tremendous gap between where we are and where we aim to be.”
To narrow the gap, Huawei, has been committed to helping educational establishments adopt digital technologies effectively. It has provided state-of-the-art ICT solutions for global education customers for more than 10 years, including those in developing countries. Notable projects include Huawei’s collaboration with the Cote d’Ivoire Ministry of Education, where it supported the boost to Cote d’Ivoire’s nationwide basic education offering, improved the level of development in ICT, and promoted education equity. Huawei achieved this by delivering a dedicated wide area network, centralising the cloud data centre as well as providing wireless coverage in schools and an e-learning platform.
In addition to providing solutions, Huawei also advocates an all-round ecosystem approach, which includes working with consultancies, software developers, system integrators, services providers and others. “We always insist on the strategy of platform plus ecosystem. This means we position ourselves as the fertile soil on which partners grow and flourish, and finally produce all kinds of fruits for our end-customers: the schools and students.”
Digital transformation has already been taking place in education before the pandemic struck. However, there is no doubt that the global health crisis has accelerated the transformation and forced organisations to seek solutions to ensure learning continuity for all students. Against this backdrop, Huawei is bringing new value to the education sector with technologies such as the Hybrid Learning Solution platform that incorporates a learning management system. This is supported by the Huawei IdeaHub, which is an interactive 4K digital whiteboard.
The Huawei Global Intelligent Education Summit 2021 took place on 7-8 July and showcased real-world examples of how education solutions help accelerate digital transformation of the education industry.
With many of these solutions having proved themselves in the pandemic, Xu has no doubt that they will continue to occupy a vital place on the education sector. He concludes: “Hybrid learning is about to become the new normal of future education.”
Find out more about how Huawei is supporting the future of education here.