A report by Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), a research arm of The Economist magazine, indicated that gross domestic product could increase by 1.1 per cent for every 10 per cent increase in school internet connectivity in a country.

The EIU report, which was sponsored by Ericsson, was published in a statement on Tuesday in Lagos.

According to the report, a well-educated workforce is more likely to be innovative and foster ground-breaking ideas, leading to economic development and job creation.

In the context of the West African country of Niger, the report finds that improvements in school connectivity to finish levels could increase Gross Domestic Product by almost 20 per cent.

“This means that from 550 dollars per person in the baseline, to 660 dollars per person by 2025,” it said.

The EIU report focuses on four key actions to make a change, including collaboration of public/private partnership which was needed to coordinate efforts with stakeholders to overcome barriers to school connectivity.

According to the report, accessibility and affordability are also key to building infrastructure to enable access to the internet which is a starting point.

“Also, embedding internet and digital tools into education will allow teachers to be trained and equally integrate technology into everyday learning.

“One other key focus is protecting children online, additional steps must be taken to ensure healthy and protected online learning environments,” it said.

The report also recommended that public, private and NGO sector leaders around the world could make a dramatic impact towards bridging the digital divide by joining forces to make internet connectivity a global reality for school children of all ages.

Ericsson, therefore, appealed to these players to get behind the efforts of Giga (a school connectivity initiative founded by UNICEF and the International Telecommunication Union) through funding, data sharing and technological expertise.

According to EIU, 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, shows 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, Ericsson, said: “When Giga was announced, we immediately understood the positive impact it could deliver – bridging the digital divide between and within countries.

“The report makes it clear that partnership between business leaders, public sector leaders and NGOs can take effective action to address this issue and significantly impact lives,” Johnson said.

Charlotte Petri-Gornitzka, UNICEF Deputy Executive Director, Partnerships said : “Together, we are mapping schools around the world to identify connectivity gaps in communities.

She said it was key that they collaborate across sectors to connect schools and provide quality digital learning, so every child and young person could leapfrog to a brighter future.

The EIU report shows how school connectivity could lead to improved educational outcomes and enhanced career opportunities for children resulting in higher economic activity and community growth.

According to the analysis, other potential school connectivity benefits includes; increasing quality of education, job creation and community development among others.

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