HÀ NỘI — An Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) report sponsored by Ericsson has found that nations with low broadband connectivity have the potential to realise an increase in GDP by up to 20 per cent by connecting schools to the internet.
Education systems worldwide have been hit hard by the pandemic, with more than 190 countries instituting nationwide school closures. During this time, connectivity at home has ensured continued learning for at least 100 million out of the 1.6 billion out-of-school students across the world. The temporary school closures are shifting perceptions on the need for connecting schools to support learning and to close both the educational and digital divides.
A well-educated workforce is more likely to be innovative and foster ground-breaking ideas, leading to economic development and job creation. Access to the internet in schools can also help provide equal opportunities to students in the form of improved learning. This in turn can open doors to new career pathways and a better quality of life, thereby benefitting the individual as well as society at large.
Both the World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Index (2017), and the World Bank Human Capital Index (2017) show a clear correlation between access to internet and the quality of education available.
EIU analysis shows that for every 10 per cent increase in school connectivity in a country, GDP per capita can increase by up to 1.1 per cent.
While the global internet penetration rate has increased substantially from 17 per cent in 2005, it was still only at a modest 50 per cent this year.
In the West African country of Niger, the report finds that improvements in school connectivity to Finnish levels could increase GDP per capita by almost 20 per cent – from US$550 per person, to $660 per person by 2025.
The report focuses on four key actions including collaboration, accessibility and affordability, embedding the internet, and digital tools to educate and protect children online.
Ericsson has appealed for the world to get behind Giga (a school connectivity initiative founded by UNICEF and the International Telecommunication Union) with funding, data sharing, technological expertise and reimagining sustainable business models for connectivity. Ericsson has committed its efforts through a three-year partnership with UNICEF to help map the current school connectivity gap across 35 countries.
The Ericsson-backed EIU report – Connecting Learners: Narrowing the Educational Divide – has reinforced the company’s belief that the ambitious goal of Giga, to connect all schools and their surrounding communities by 2030, is achievable.
Heather Johnson, Vice President of Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility, at Ericsson, says: “When Giga was announced, we immediately understood the positive impact it could deliver – bridging the digital divide between and within countries and giving children the world over the opportunity to have bright and rewarding futures.”
“The report makes it clear that partnership between business leaders, public sector leaders and NGOs can be effective at addressing this issue and significantly impact lives. Every player in these sectors, no matter how big or small, can make a difference. We encourage stakeholders to read the report and more importantly join the Giga initiative to help realise this important goal, ” she added.
Charlotte Petri-Gornitzka, UNICEF Deputy Executive Director of Partnerships, says: “Together, we’re mapping schools around the world to identify connectivity gaps in communities. It’s key that we collaborate across sectors to connect schools and provide quality digital learning, children and young people can leapfrog into brighter futures.” —
Côn Đảo to return to ‘new normal’ under province’s proposal
HCM CITY — Several wards and communes in Bà Rịa – Vũng Tàu Province are expected to continue to be under the Government’s Directive 16, while Côn Đảo District would return to a “new normal” state.
The provincial Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control on Tuesday held a meeting on epidemic prevention and control plans after September 22 to discuss ending the province’s 5th social distancing period.
Directive 16 would continue to be applied in wards Nguyễn An Ninh, Thắng Nhất, Thắng Nhì, 1, 10 and 11, located in various districts.
Some communes and towns in Long Điền District, namely Phước Hưng, An Ngãi and Long Hải, will also be under Directive 16.
Bà Rịa City, Phú Mỹ Town, Châu Đức District, Đất Đỏ District and Xuyên Mộc District, together with the remaining communes and towns of Long Điền District, will be under the more relaxed Directive 15.
Production and business activities in Côn Đảo District will resume in a new normal state. However, traffic from the mainland to the island must be carefully monitored.
Districts such as Châu Đức, Đất Đỏ, Xuyên Mộc and Bà Rịa City aim to slowly recover and carefully open some types of economic activities in four stages.
During the first stage, between September 23 and 30, those areas will loosen travel control in the “green zone” and reopen supermarkets, retail store chains, small businesses selling essential items, traditional markets and take-away food services, and resume agricultural, forestry and fishery production activities.
The second stage, from October 1 to 31, involves tourism at hotels with closed services.
If the epidemic continues to be controlled well and Bà Rịa – Vũng Tàu returns to the new normal, the third stage, from November 11 to December 31, will be implemented.
The locality will allow tourist and resort establishments to welcome guests who are fully vaccinated. Real estate agencies, and security and insurance activities will be permitted to open, and intra-provincial public transport will operate at 50 per cent capacity. Education, training services and sports activities would be limited to no more than 20 people.
All economic activities in the last stage will reopen in 2022.
Vice chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Trần Văn Tuấn is seeking feedback from authorities and will announce the final plan soon.
As of September 21, after more than two months of social distancing, Bà Rịa – Vũng Tàu had recorded 3,943 COVID-19 cases. —
Five teens killed in road crash during Mid-Autumn Festival in northern Vietnam
Five teenage boys were killed and two others injured following a road accident involving four motorbikes that were traveling at high speed in the northern Vietnamese province of Phu Tho on Tuesday night.
The crash took place along a street in Minh Tan Commune, Cam Khe District at around 10:30 pm, according to Nguyen Hong Son, chairman of the commune’s People’s Committee.
A total of seven teenagers were traveling on four motorbikes at high speed when they crashed into one another.
Four of them were killed on the spot, while the other three were admitted to the hospital with serious injuries.
One of the injured later died at around 1:00 am on Wednesday.
The five deceased victims were identified as Nguyen Ngoc Duy, 16, Nguyen Trung Dung, 16, Doan Quoc Hoi, 17, Nguyen Thanh Toan, 18, and Nguyen Truong Son, 16, according to An Toan Giao Thong (Traffic Safety) newspaper, which is managed by the National Committee for Traffic Safety.
Khuat Viet Hung, vice-chairman of the committee, has requested authorities in Phu Tho to promptly carry out an investigation and find out the cause of the accident.
Hung directed competent authorities to check whether the victims were under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and to verify any signs of illegal street racing.
The boys are believed to have been celebrating the Mid-Autumn Festival prior to the crash, the provincial traffic safety committee reported.
The National Committee for Traffic Safety also asked their family members to pay attention to pandemic prevention and control measures when organizing funerals for the victims.
Benchmarks for entry to universities are too high, parents and students complain
The required benchmarks for admission to universities this year have been described as “abnormally high” by some.
Even excellent students who got 9 out of a 10 score for every exam subject may not be accepted at some universities.
On September 16, when universities announced the benchmarks for admission, N.H.N. from Thanh Hoa realized she could not enroll in any of the 11 majors she wanted.
With 25.6 score from the high school finals, N knew that she would not have opportunities at top-tier schools, so in addition to the application for six majors at the Hanoi Foreign Trade University and National Economics University (NEU), she also applied for majors at Thuongmai University and the Academy of Policy and Development.
The majors in 2020 had required a benchmark score 4-5 points lower than the score N received this year, so she felt secure about her choice.
However, the benchmark for the Economics Law major at the Academy of Policy and Development increased by five, from 21 last year to 26 this year, which meant she could not attend the school.
Many other students who had relatively high scores from the high school finals did not meet requirements for their preferred schools because the required benchmarks for admission to schools are higher this year.
Candidates need to have 2-4 exam scores higher than the previous year on average to be enrolled in universities.
Thuy Tram, a parent in Hanoi, said that 20 years ago, examinees with a 27 score would be the best students at schools. She said the current exams were not designed well. In principle, there should be both easy and difficult exam questions, which find excellent students who can answer difficult questions.
Bui Duc Trieu from National Economics University said that one of the reasons behind the high benchmark this year was the easy exam questions, and that in the future, schools will have to consider other methods of enrollment to ease reliance on the results of high school finals.
In 2020, the Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) stated that the high school finals are organized simply to recognize students as finishing the general education program, instead of being used as the university entrance exam. Universities are allowed to enroll students using their own criteria instead of relying solely on exam results as before.
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