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One-in-Four parents say poor quality internet connection negatively impacts school pupils’ education

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  • One in four UK parents (24 percent) believe children are struggling to complete lessons and schoolwork because of poor quality internet connection.
  • More than half (54 percent) of parents say they have had to invest money in technology to support their children in learning at home, of which one-in-ten has been forced to spend more than £500.
  • Huawei donates 250 Huawei Pupil Packs with a value of over £60,000 to five secondary schools in the Manchester area, in the support of the Greater Manchester Tech Fund.

Manchester, UK. February 2021. New data from YouGov Research, commissioned by Huawei UK, reveals millions of children across the UK are being held back in the virtual classroom, exposing a nationwide digital divide felt by families.

The research shows one in four UK parents (24 percent) believes children are struggling to complete lessons and schoolwork because of poor quality internet connections. More than half (54 percent) of parents surveyed say they have had to invest money in technology to support their children in learning at home, while one-in-ten (12 percent) has been forced to spend more than £500 since the first national lockdown.

The YouGov survey reveals that many households across the country are resorting to tactics such as switching off video during calls, tethering to a mobile connection or restricting internet access in the hope of securing a stable connection.

The survey of 4,000 UK adults also found that 86 percent of respondents believe that poor quality internet connections will have a negative impact on educational attainment, while 88 percent also said that having a reliable connection is important to the overall wellbeing of children during lockdown.

The polling comes as Huawei donates 250 Huawei Pupil Packs with a value of over £60,000 to help pupils most in need and to help break down the barriers in remote education.

The Huawei Pupil Packs - which contain a Huawei MatePad T3 10 tablet, a Huawei 4G B311 Wireless Router and a sim card pre-loaded with data, courtesy of Three UK – are being donated to pupils at schools identified by the Greater Manchester Tech Fund as those which would benefit most from new hardware.

The packs will ensure pupils have both the hardware and connectivity required for remote learning. Each of these schools are receiving 50 Huawei Pupil Packs:

-      Longdendale High School in Hyde

-      Sharples School in Bolton

-      The Derby High School in Bury

-      Burnage Academy for Boys in Manchester

-      Byrchall High School in Wigan

Karl Harrison, Head, Burnage Academy for Boys said:

“We serve communities in the most deprived areas of the inner city and some of our parents do not have the means to be able to provide the devices needed at present for their children. The fantastic generosity of Huawei will make an enormous difference to so many of our families and give our boys the opportunity to access remote learning in the pandemic.

This is truly humbling in the most challenging of times and we offer our most sincere and heartfelt thanks.”

Diane Modahl, Lead, Greater Manchester Tech Fund said:

“In Greater Manchester, we believe that our young people deserve every chance to fulfil their potential. We set up the Greater Manchester Tech Fund to support our most vulnerable young people to prevent them being marginalised and at a disadvantage from their peers. I’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone at Huawei, for their generous donation to the GM Tech Fund. Huawei’s donation will help digitally-excluded young people with the technology and connectivity needed to continue their learning at home while schools and colleges remain closed. ”

Victor Zhang, Vice President, Huawei said:

“The shift to remote education has been challenging for all families, but it has been especially difficult for those pupils who don’t have the means to participate in video lessons or interact with other children. No pupils should be left behind, but we all know of school children who, through no fault of their own, are facing barriers to the education they should be receiving.

“Huawei remains committed to improving connectivity across the UK, as we have been for the last 20 years. We are eager to help during the pandemic and so we are really pleased to be donating 250 Huawei Pupil Packs to schools in Greater Manchester, with the support of our partners at Three UK. We hope this donation goes some way to breaking down those barriers and helping school children continue their education at this uniquely challenging time.”

The products featured in the Huawei Pupil Packs are:

HUAWEI MatePad T10

This tablet combines powerful performance with a 9.7 inch display, dual speaker system and long battery life. It also comes with TÜV Rheinland-certified Eye Comfort technology to reduce harmful blue light, offering better comfort for daily use. The MatePad has both rear and front cameras, perfect for participating in interactive lessons and sharing work directly with teachers and classmates.

HUAWEI 4G Router

This router enables up to 32 devices to share access to the same data SIM card. Simply insert a data SIM into the router and position the router in an area of the house that has the strongest mobile signal. The router then shares this data establishing a local WiFi connection; pupils connect their tablet to the WiFi and they’re online.

Pre-paid Data SIM, from Three

Huawei and the North West – In October 2019, Huawei opened a new office in Greater Manchester at the flourishing MediaCityUK complex. The office houses several of Huawei’s key business operations such as customer account teams and it serves as an operational base for the company as Huawei develops its business in the Northern Powerhouse.

About Huawei

Huawei is a leading global provider of information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure and smart devices. With integrated solutions across four key domains—telecom networks, IT, smart devices, and cloud services—we are committed to bringing digital to every person, home and organization for a fully connected, intelligent world.

Huawei's end-to-end portfolio of products, solutions, and services are both competitive and secure. Through open collaboration with ecosystem partners, we create lasting value for our customers, working to empower people, enrich home life, and inspire innovation in organizations of all shapes and sizes.

At Huawei, innovation focuses on customer needs. We invest heavily in basic research, concentrating on technological breakthroughs that drive the world forward. We have more than 188,000 employees, and we operate in more than 170 countries and regions. Founded in 1987, Huawei is a private company fully owned by its employees.

http://www.linkedin.com/company/Huawei

coronavirus

French primary pupils return to school despite high COVID numbers

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Schoolchildren, wearing protective face masks, return to classes at Lepeltier primary school in La Trinite, near Nice, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in France, April 26, 2021.    REUTERS/Eric Gaillard
Schoolchildren, wearing protective face masks, are seen in a classroom at Lepeltier primary school in La Trinite, near Nice, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in France, April 26, 2021.    REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

France sent primary and nursery pupils back to school on Monday (26 April), the first phase of reopening after a three-week COVID-19 lockdown, even as daily new infections remained stubbornly high.

President Emmanuel Macron said a return to school would help fight social inequality, allowing parents who struggle to pay for childcare to get back to work, but trade unions warned that new infections would lead to a "torrent" of classroom closures.

In the upmarket Paris suburb of Neuilly-sur-Seine, pupils wore face masks and rubbed disinfectant gel on their hands as they filed through the front door of the Achille Peretti primary school. A poster reminded the youngsters to stay a metre apart.

"They're young, they need an adult to help them, but most parents have a job and it's burdensome to ask them to do the school work," said teacher Elodie Passon.

Middle and high school pupils are due to return to the classroom next Monday, when the government will also lift domestic travel restrictions that have been in place nationwide since early April.

The open-air terraces of bars and restaurants, as well as some business and cultural venues, might be allowed to reopen from mid-May if the curbs have sufficiently slowed the spread of the coronavirus, the government has said.

Some doctors and public health experts have warned it may be too early to ease restrictions.

On Sunday (25 April), the seven-day average of new cases fell below 30,000 for the first time in over a month, from about 38,000 when the lockdown began, though the number of COVID-19 patients in critical care still hovered near a third-wave high of 5,984.

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Education

Education and skills: Commission launches public consultation to support lifelong learning and employability

EU Reporter Correspondent

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The Commission has launched a public consultation on a European approach to micro-credentials for lifelong learning and employability. During the next 12 weeks, the consultation will collect ideas for a common definition of micro-credentials – recognition of short, targeted learning courses – and for the development of EU standards ensuring their quality and transparency. Within Europe, a growing number of people need to update their knowledge, skills and competences to fill in the gap between their formal education and the needs of a fast-changing society and labour market. Public and private stakeholders are rapidly developing short-term learning courses. ‘Micro-credentials' are a crucial step to certify the outcomes of these experiences, thus supporting people to improve or gain new skills throughout their careers and reaching out to a more diverse group of learners. Micro-credentials have the potential to make education more inclusive, and will promote flexible, short term learning opportunities.

Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth Commissioner Mariya Gabriel said: “In these unprecedented times, our learning opportunities need to adapt. They should be flexible, modular and accessible to anyone wanting to develop their competences. Our European approach to micro-credentials will facilitate the recognition and validation of these important short learning experiences. It will contribute to making lifelong learning a reality across the EU.”

Jobs and Social Rights Commissioner Nicolas Schmit said: “As member states strive to meet the target of 60% of adults in annual training set by the European Pillar of Social Rights Action Plan, we need to make learning as user-centric as possible. Whether you take a short course in coding through a VET provider or learn a foreign language with a language school, your newly-acquired skills should be recognised throughout the European labour market. The public consultation that we launch today is an important step to put this flagship action from our European Skills Agenda into practice.”

The public consultation is available online.

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Education

An ambitious and more inclusive Erasmus+ takes off with €28 billion to support mobility and learning

Catherine Feore

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The Commission today (25 March) adopted the first annual work programme of Erasmus+ 2021-2027. With a budget of €26.2 billion, the programme has nearly doubled in scale and is hoping to be more inclusive and have a stronger emphasis on both the green and digital transition. 

Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth Commisioner Mariya Gabriel said: “The fact that the Erasmus+ budget for the next seven years has almost doubled shows the importance given to education, lifelong learning and youth in Europe.

“The current pandemic has exacerbated inequality, especially for young people. The principle of solidarity must be the driving force between our actions here, and we are working with organizations that represent and work with people who have fewer opportunities to help them gain access to this programme. I'm talking about people from less favoured socio-economic backgrounds, people living in rural areas, isolated people, or people with disabilities. For example, we cover the costs of people who are accompanying participants with disabilities.”

The new Erasmus+ programme provides opportunities for study periods abroad, traineeships, apprenticeships, and staff exchanges in all fields of education, training, youth and sport. It is open to school pupils, higher education and vocational education and training students, adult learners, youth exchanges, youth workers and sports coaches.

In addition to mobility, which counts for 70% of the budget, the new Erasmus+ also invests in cross‑border co-operation projects. These can be between higher education institutions (e.g. the European Universities initiative); schools; teacher education and training colleges (e.g. Erasmus+ Teacher Academies); adult learning centres; youth and sport organisations; providers of vocational education and training (e.g. Vocational Centres of Excellence).

The main features of the Erasmus+ 2021-2027 programme are:

Inclusive Erasmus+: providing enhanced opportunities to people with fewer opportunities, including people with diverse cultural, social and economic backgrounds, and people living in rural and remote areas. Novelties include individual and class exchanges for school pupils and mobility for adult learners. It will be easier for smaller organisations, such as schools, youth associations and sports clubs to apply, thanks to small-scale partnerships and the use of simplified grant applications. The programme will also be more international, allowing cooperation with third countries, building on the successes of the previous programme with exchanges and cooperation projects around the world. 

Digital Erasmus+: The pandemic highlighted the need to accelerate the digital transition of education and training systems. Erasmus+ will support the development of digital skills, in line with the Digital Education Action Plan. It will provide high-quality digital training and exchanges via platforms such as eTwinning, School Education Gateway and the European Youth Portal, and it will encourage traineeships in the digital sector. New formats, such as blended intensive programmes, will allow short-term physical mobility abroad to be complemented with online learning and teamwork. The implementation of the programme will be further digitalised and simplified with the full roll-out of the European Student Card.

Green Erasmus+: In line with the European Green Deal, the programme will offer financial incentives to participants using sustainable modes of transport. It will also invest in projects promoting awareness of environmental issues and facilitate exchanges related to mitigating the climate crisis.

Erasmus+ for young people: DiscoverEU now becomes an integral part of Erasmus+ and gives 18 year-olds the possibility to get a rail pass to travel across Europe, learn from other cultures and meet fellow Europeans. Erasmus+ will also support exchange and cooperation opportunities through new youth participation activities, to help young people engage and learn to participate in democratic life, raising awareness about shared European values and fundamental rights; and bringing young people and decision-makers together at local, national and European level.

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