It is a great pleasure to be here with you in Barcelona this afternoon for the launch of Broadband Commission’s Working Group on Education’s new report, entitled ‘Technology, Broadband and Education: Advancing the Education for All Agenda’.
This report, which is the principal outcome of the working group on education, highlights a number of key messages.
Firstly, it is clear that broadband really is ‘the missing link’ in terms of global access to education. Indeed, the ability of broadband to improve and enhance education, as well as students’ experience of education, is undisputed.
A good and well-rounded education is the basis on which future livelihoods and families are founded, and education opens up minds, as well as job prospects.
Bring broadband into the picture, and students in developing countries can access prestigious university libraries anywhere in the world; unemployed workers can retrain and improve their job prospects in other fields; and teachers can gain inspiration and advice from the resources and experiences of others.
With each of these achievements, the online world brings about another real-world victory for education, dialogue, and better understanding between peoples.
We owe a great debt of gratitude to UNESCO as the lead author of this report.
We are also very grateful for the collaborative input which came in from a large number of Broadband Commissioners and their organizations – including of course Alcatel-Lucent, as well as the Connect-to-Learn partnership, Intel, and the Inter-American Development Bank.
We should also thank individual Commissioners Ivo Ivanovski, Suvi Lindén, Jasna Matić and Special Advisor to the Commission, Paul Budde.
In a world where over 60 million children of primary school age are not in school, the report is both timely and necessary, and endorses a number of strategies that governments and other stakeholders involved in education should embrace.
The policy recommendations include: increasing access to ICTs and broadband; incorporating ICTs into job training and continuing education; teaching ICT skills and digital literacy to all educators and learners; promoting mobile learning and open educational resources; supporting the development of content adapted to local contexts and languages; and working to bridge the digital divide.
We will be taking this report to the 7th full meeting of the Broadband Commission for Digital Development, which will be taking place in the middle of March in Mexico City – and I hope that this will be a further opportunity to raise awareness of this most important issue.
Broadband has the power not just to revolutionize education, but to bring it into the lives of everyone, no matter where they live and what their circumstances – and that is a noble goal that we can all work towards achieving.