Starting a New Journey in Intelligent Education: Côte d'Ivoire Partners with Huawei
The Republic of Côte d'Ivoire — the most urbanized country in West Africa — is ripe with economic potential, but its limited education level was hindering its development. The country's government therefore identified education informatization as a key national strategy. Indeed, back in 2012, President Alassane Ouattara proposed a strategic plan to "transform Côte d'Ivoire into an emerging country" and "enhance the quality of education and health services" to that end. Explicitly, the government proposed the strategic goal of developing Information Technology (IT)-enabled education, with a specific aim of narrowing the education gap between regions.
Hand-in-hand with the rapid development of Information and Communications Technology (ICT), the world has entered the information age. Modern education, just like any other industry you care to name, relies heavily on ICT today. However, in Côte d'Ivoire, handwritten letters, telephone calls, and emails have traditionally been the main ways primary and secondary schools, education bureaus, and the Inspection de l'Enseignement Préscolaire et Primaire — the Preschool and Primary Education Inspection Office — communicate. Out in the field, education authorities have also relied heavily on personal phones as the main means of remote communications, with almost all educational institution offices paper-based. In short, ICT infrastructure, network coverage, and connectivity were all sorely lacking.
Unsurprisingly, perhaps, the level of education also varied wildly between urban and rural areas, with education resources unevenly distributed, region to region. The situation couldn't have been clearer: Côte d'Ivoire urgently needed to kick-start the digital transformation of education and the country was ready for change.
To assist Côte d'Ivoire's push toward education informatization, Huawei proposed its All-Scenario Intelligent Campus Solution. This solution uses digital technology to transform traditional education, making it intelligent. It helps to build healthy, safe, efficient, and innovative intelligent campuses by focusing on six areas of school life: teaching, learning, management, measurement, evaluation, and services. In addition, it collects, aggregates, and analyzes the data of all educational institutions, promoting the sharing of high-quality learning resources between regions.
Indeed, since 2019, the Ministry of Education of Côte d'Ivoire and Huawei have cooperated to promote the implementation of a national e-education project. While the deployment of the project has provided comprehensive, video protection for the physical environment of school campuses, a unified communications system has also made cross-school interaction and remote collaboration more efficient. With a modular data center greatly shortening project deployment time, a unified intelligent management system has slashed network fault location times from hours to minutes. Plus, an intelligent optimization system has improved overall network performance by 50%.
A remote training system, remote interactive classroom capabilities, and an online learning system now allow teachers in remote regions to receive the training they need. Through video conferences and online videos, teachers across all areas of the country can benefit from the experiences and skills of the best teachers in the country. This helps begin to resolve the issue of teacher shortages in remote areas, in order to improve education levels country-wide. In addition, the project has established multiple training centers to help improve the ICT skills of teachers.
A remote online learning platform and remote interactive classroom capabilities give students access to learning resources anytime and anywhere. This promotes equity in education and will help Côte d'Ivoire to quickly skill up and improve the overall level of education in the country. In upgraded smart classrooms, HUAWEI IdeaHub Board plays live classroom videos for remote interaction, from Question and Answer (Q&A) sessions to lively discussions. Teachers and students in different regions can easily upload and download digital educational resources on the teaching platform. For example, children in remote schools can join smart classes, gaining access to educational resources and receiving the same high level of education as students studying in the famed Abidjan Classical High School, in the country's economic capital. Through networks, the educational divide has been bridged, forging new connections and promoting the equitable sharing of educational resources.
After two years of development, the project has, to date, connected 74 middle schools in 10 cities across the country. A total of 133 sites are now running smoothly, building a next generation, modern, digital education system for Côte d'Ivoire.
On June 11, 2021, Mariatou Kone, the Minister of National Education and Literacy attended the inauguration of the data center and multimedia classroom of Abidjan Classical High School. During the event, she declared: "Our collaboration with Huawei is fruitful."
The deployment of Huawei's All-Scenario Intelligent Campus Solution is greatly improving Côte d'Ivoire's ICT level, as the country looks to make the digital switch, in turn promoting educational resource sharing. It's helping to train teachers, making education fairer and more inclusive, which is the ultimate aim of Côte d'Ivoire's national strategy, bringing quality education to more regions, promoting sustainable development, creating more learning opportunities, and opening a window on the world for every child.