Qualcomm's Connect to Learn Program

Aiming to Improve Learning Outcomes of Underprivileged Girls in Myanmar
Oct 16, 2019 8:30 AM ET
Article

The Connect To Learn program is a public-private partnership that brings mobile technology and 3G/4G-based Internet access to underserved schools in Myanmar, offering students the opportunity to leapfrog to a 21st century education. The program promotes universal access to quality secondary education by providing user-friendly learning devices for teachers and students to use in the classroom. The program delivers information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure and training to nearly 30,000 students and 310 teachers from 31 schools. Connect To Learn aims to effectively integrate teacher training programs to enrich learning experiences and improve workforce readiness. Qualcomm-enabled Virtual Reality (VR) headsets are being leveraged to augment these in-person professional development trainings.

Challenges

  • For many schools in Myanmar, mobile broadband offers the only viable connection to the Internet and a 21st century education. 
  • Myanmar’s telecommunication sector has significantly increased since opening up to foreign competition in 2013 and recently reached 56 million subscribers.1
  • Enrollment of school-age children in Myanmar’s secondary schools hovers at just over 50 percent, one of the lowest figures globally.2​
  • The Myanmar Ministry of Education has prioritized the use of ICT in classrooms to support the ongoing Comprehensive Education Sector Review initiative, and is currently the only ICT program for education in the country.

Solution

  • Distribution of 3G-enabled laptops to teachers and 4G Qualcommenabled tablets to students allow access to cloud-based, educational content and resources in the classroom. Classrooms in participating schools utilize a range of technologies.
  • A professional development program for teachers focuses on the effective use of ICT-based resources to improve student learning, particularly in English Language, Life Skills and Mathematics.
  • Using VR headsets, teachers deliver lessons in an artificial, animated classroom setting. Teachers learn classroom management techniques and gain additional confidence to integrate the use of advanced mobile technologies in the classroom.
  • A comprehensive English Language program delivered via mobile technology fosters the development of skills to be successful in a knowledge-based global economy.
  • Through the delivery of a life skills and empowerment program via tablets, girls improve their communication skills and build self-confidence.
  • A scholarship program for underprivileged girls enables them to stay in school and complete their secondary education.

Impact

  • Connecting 15,000 Underprivileged, But Deserving Girls
    • The Connect To Learn program connects 31 schools to mobile broadband networks to improve the learning outcomes of nearly 30,000 students in Myanmar, including 15,000 underprivileged girls
  • Cloud-based Education
    • The program provides the technical building blocks to enable accelerated access to cloud-based education content and collaboration systems. 
  • Improved Teaching Quality
    • Teaching quality is expected to increase through effective use of ICT in improving teaching and learning and over 310 teachers will be trained. VR is allowing teachers to practice their skills beyond the walls of the classroom.
  • Increased Employment Opportunities
    • Students will be able to improve numeracy and language literacy skills that can lead to increased employment opportunities. 
  • Emphasis on Education Girls
    • Female students from secondary schools will be empowered to communicate effectively about issues that are important to the community, including the importance of education for girls.

Technology

  • Ericsson Mobile broadband connectivity via 3G/4G together with Myanmar Posts and Telecommunications (MPT)
  • 3G-enabled laptops and 4G Qualcomm-enabled tablets
  • An open source, cloud based education platform from Ericsson, that includes a cloud content management system that makes education content available on different types of devices, with the experience optimized for each device type.
  • Portable carts accommodate charging, secure storage and easy transport of tablets to classrooms.
  • Universal Power Supply units provide a stable power supply for the ICT equipment.
  • Qualcomm-enabled VR headsets with approved Ministry of Education curriculum.

Program Stakeholders

*Sources: CIA World Factbook (https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook); Mobile penetration data provided by Ovum World Cellular Information Service and based on market intelligence.

1 source from https://www.slideshare.net/DataReportal/digital-2019-myanmar-january-2019-v01 (Slide 15)

2 http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/myanmar_statistics.html