A public, private, and non-profit partnership has connected classrooms to the Internet in southern Chile, improving access to education for dozens of students in rural areas.
Connect to Learn — an initiative between multinational technology company Ericsson, the NGO Millenium Promise, and the Earth Institute at Columbia University — has teamed up with Chilean service provider Entel to bring computers, broadband, and cloud-based technology to Arturo Prat Chacón high school and two primary schools in Ninhue in Chile’s Bío Bío Region.
«This initiative demonstrates our commitment to enabling our vision for a networked society in Chile and in Latin America,” Carla Belitardo, Head of Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility for Ericsson Latin America, said. “Mobile broadband is a key enabler for access to a quality education in all communities, even the most rural. Delivering cloud-based computing services and connecting them is a major step toward bringing quality education.»
Connect to Learn ran its first trials in Africa, and has found success in schools in Djibouti, Brazil, South Sudan, Uganda, India and China, as well as Chile.
«With Connect To Learn, students and teachers benefit from access to global news, information and the latest educational content, and can collaborate with fellow students and teachers around the world, despite their remote location,” Manuel Araya, corporate affairs manager at Entel, said.
In addition to providing access to education, the program hopes to foster cross-cultural learning and cultivate global awareness and understanding.
Schools that are part of the initiative can communicate through the School-To-School Connections program. High school students at Arturo Prat Chacón created their very own global classroom, connecting through a video call session to students at the Juan de Mairena Institute in San Sebastian de los Reyes, Spain.
“Education is essential to ending poverty and ensuring a productive life for people all over the world,” Ericsson says in its mission statement. “With today’s technology, all young people in the world can have the opportunity to learn. Mobile broadband technology offers the opportunity to connect even the most remote village classrooms so that they can benefit from a 21st century education.”
Connect to Learn in Chile is also backed by the government, as part of Todo Chile Communicado. The program hopes to eventually bring broadband coverage to 1,474 designated rural communities in Chile — an estimated three million people. This will combine with Chile’s existing networks to provide 90 percent of the population with access the Internet.