Developing the digital skills of young people in China #itstime
Preparing a workforce for the future has its challenges. Not only is the pace of technological change rapid but estimates state that 3.7 billion people have no internet access¹ which is the first stepping stone to building vital digital skills in a report by PwC and UNICEF, in support of Generation Unlimited - Stepping Forward. The report also shows that three out of four students who cannot be reached by remote-learning options (including radio, television and internet) come from rural areas and or poor households.
The third element for young people to develop digital skills, as per the Stepping Forward report - is digital literacy, which is the basic skills and knowledge to participate online. The pandemic has highlighted the universal need to assist the next generation with developing digital skills by the urgent switch to online learning.
PwC China has been focused on investing in education for more than a decade, and they continue to expand the scale and reach of education initiatives in line with PwC’s New world. New skills. upskilling initiative, prioritising programmes that equip children and youth with the digital skills they will need to thrive in the workforce of the future.
Image source: Adream Foundation
Creating a platform to engage thousands of students in a fun and interactive way #bethesolution
Collaborating with Adream Foundation, a Non-governmental Organisation (NGO), PwC China has been working alongside them to help close the skills and opportunity gap, developing curriculum and programmes that provide quality education to students in rural and underserved communities throughout China.
More recently, together with Adream Foundation, PwC China has delivered a pilot ‘Tech Carnival’ to students from rural schools across Jiangxi Province, China. The carnival brought to life the importance of digital skills and design thinking for nearly 20,000 students. The carnival content was developed by Adream Foundations development team taking into account the needs of rural schools in China and aligning to PwC’s New world. New skills initiative, which believes that everyone should be able to live, learn, work and participate in the digital world. The content of the carnival focused on eight themes;
The content was created to be delivered both online and in person starting with an online series of videos focused on five topics including critical thinking, big data and artificial intelligence. PwC China’s volunteers feature in the videos exploring and explaining the topics of critical thinking and big data.
Image source: Adream Foundation
Tech Carnival = an inclusive way for everyone to jump aboard the digital upskilling ride #togetherwesolve
Due to the conditions created by the pandemic, PwC China’s volunteers were not able to attend the schools or activities in person, however, they were able to present and provide content for the introductory technology videos as well as help analyse and rate the students' work to test what they had learned after watching the videos.
The Tech Carnival was delivered in three parts, each designed to help expand the skills, knowledge and access to upskilling:
"The programme team is now improving the design of the pilot, in the hope of carrying it out in more of those rural schools which would otherwise miss out on opportunities to close the skills gap. A full pack of the programme materials including teachers’ training and activity playbook is now free to download and which has already reached 300,000 teachers."
¹Weforum.org., D. Broom, April 2020. Coronavirus has exposed the digital divide like never before.