Closing the COVID-19 Education Gap
AWS and Viasat not only had the tools to help close the education gap exacerbated by COVID-19, they also felt the responsibility to take action. Here’s how BCIU helped them unlock the power of global partnerships.
A Changing Landscape
COVID-19 created a drastic gap in resources available for students around the world and in particular, students in the developing world.
More than 1.5 billion students have been affected by school and university closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This problem could not be solved only with intervention from the UN or other multilaterals. Governments and companies needed to come together, strategize, and develop actionable next steps to unlock connectivity, access, and equity. AWS and Viasat not only had the tools to help close the gap, but also felt the responsibility to take action. BCIU was there to help push forward this critical cause.
When Opportunity Meets Strategy
As COVID-19 placed a growing toll on the global education system, BCIU member Viasat wanted to drive action through a forum to address issues in the education sector, from the importance of digital connectivity to the lack of basic resources worldwide. BCIU immediately went to work and began to consult public and private sector representatives on how best to build this discussion. We found an additional partner in Amazon Web Services (AWS), creating complementary partners between platform tools and connectivity. With our long history of developing powerful cross sector partnerships, this was a strategic decision that magnified the impact of the forum.
Children across the world have lost an average of one third (74 days) of education each due to school closures and a lack of access to remote learning.
BCIU was able to leverage our network to bring in speakers from the United Nations and attract a large and global audience to listen in to the discussion during the UN General Assembly. Due to BCIU’s deep global network of stakeholders, the discussion included a highly diverse and representative audience, putting together leaders and influencers to discuss the situation on the ground and what can be done to solve the crisis. BCIU’s convening power expanded participants’ networks and brought greater awareness to a series of timely education issues that might have been overlooked.
A Real Difference
BCIU continues to bring in new public and private sector representatives, extending the reach and awareness of our members to focus on specific aspects of the connectivity issue, such as bandwidth, infrastructure, lack of technology training, and the balance of virtual versus in-person learning. Doreen Bogdan-Martin, Director of the Telecommunication Development Bureau of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), was one of the participants in the program and months afterward ITU released report that discussed the need for additional investment in education and connectivity. You can find the full report here: https://www.itu.int/en/mediacentre/Pages/cm10-2020-Last-Mile-Internet-Connectivity-Solutions-Guide.aspx
By bringing these issues to the forefront by curating global conversations around educational access and equity, we are proposing solutions to the highest levels of business and government to drive global change.
Providing critical data storage and cloud capabilities during this transformational time in the education industry is a key priority and BCIU’s efforts and platform help enable us to reach key audiences and the underserved.