How UNICEF is using big data to close the education divide

Por: Nicholas Fearn/05-06-2019/

There’s no denying that education plays a fundamental role in our development as human beings, providing knowledge of the world around us and the skills needed to navigate life.

But education is also something we often take for granted. For many people in the world, they simply don’t have access to it. In fact, according to UNICEF, 60 million children won’t have the opportunity to attend primary school by 2030 and the global rate of school enrollment has stagnated since 2007.

This issue is only growing as a result of climate change and global conflict, with more children on the move and unable to go to school. However, it’s not just a question of getting youngsters to school but also the infrastructure and information required to develop an education system.

Looking to tackle this issue and help children in need, UNICEF Innovation has teamed up with software giant Red Hat. They’ve developed a reusable open source platform that applies software and big data for social good, which has resulted in the co-creation of the School Mapping project.

Mapping the world’s schools

Through the initiative, both organizations are working to map every school in the world and using real-time data to assess the quality of each school’s internet connectivity. The data generated can be utilised to identify where gaps and information needs are, serving as evidence for advocating connectivity and helping national governments optimise their education systems.

“There is a digital divide in education, with millions of children unable to gain access to the internet and the learning resources they need. 264 million children do not go to school globally, and we think that is partly a resources and student engagement issue. The goal is to reduce this divide on a global scale,” says Clara Palau Montava, technology team lead at UNICEF Innovation.

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Unicef es un programa de la Organización de las Naciones Unidas (ONU) con base en Nueva York y que provee ayuda humanitaria y de desarrollo a niños y madres en países en desarrollo. Es uno de los miembros y la comisión ejecutiva de la United Nations Development Group.

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