World Children’s Day: Empowering children and youth through mobile education

This blog has been contributed by the GSMA’s Case For Change campaign, in support of Unicef’s #KidsTakeOver campaign for World Children’s Day.

Follow UNICEF’s World Children’s Day on Twitter with #KidsTakeOver, and visit the #CaseForChange website to follow and share all the latest stories.

As little as fifteen years ago, it might have seemed unlikely to have tablets and mobile phones commonplace in the classroom. But as we mark World Children’s Day this year we are seeing previously unthinkable digital technology in classrooms around the globe – and at the heart of this is mobile connectivity. Whether it be in densely populated cities or rural communities, connectivity in the classroom is closing inequalities among youth by providing enriched educational experiences and empowering them to create a better future.

Recognising the work of global mobile operators towards this vision, the GSMA’s #CaseForChange is travelling the world to tell powerful stories of mobile impact against all 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Education will be featured across the campaign, and has already been the focus of two stories. In the USA the Case travelled to Rhode Island where in the past a lack of connectivity in the home has created a ‘homework gap’, making it difficult for students to continue their studies after school hours. But with the internet becoming an increasingly dominant part of the school system, and with many students having to rely on the school library computers for revision and homework submission, students without home internet access across the US find themselves cut off from a future of possibilities. The 1Million Project, an initiative set up by Sprint, aims to tackle this issue by providing connected devices to one million low-income students across America.

In developing markets, mobile connectivity is equally, if not more valuable to providing an enriched education for rural and previously unconnected communities. When the #CaseForChange visited Nyombo, Tanzania we learnt more about how connectivity has impacted people from different walks of life within the community – including a teacher who can now access new learning resources through the internet and apps. The story additionally sheds light on the value of mobile beyond education, enabling youth to have inclusive experiences on social media and gain access to media.

Mobile connectivity and access to the mobile internet is undoubtedly an integral part of creating inclusive future societies. By opening opportunities to access an infinite amount of information and educational tools, mobile technology provides an essential platform for today’s youth. Ultimately, with more informed and inclusive societies, mobile is empowering young people to create a more sustainable and prosperous world.