The first Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) programs had been introduced in many African countries starting with the 1950s – with varying success. The involvement of the World Bank and UNESCO reinvigorated those efforts and, to a great extent, transformed the alternative to tertiary education into what it is now. Despite significant progress, the system is currently not harmonized in terms of policy, quality assurance, and center governance across the many countries of the continent, and implementation levels remain relatively low.
The switch to distance learning has already taken a toll on the students’ participation in classes and overall performance, and educators are struggling to keep up on the technical front – mastering novel online tools and trying to ensure ubiquitous access to knowledge for all students. Vocational training might be at a disadvantage, “as more efforts are put into general school subjects, and less in typical vocational content,” – states the official survey launched by the European Commission. Bogged down by the current complications, many educational institutions lack the resources to plan ahead and develop long-term strategies.
However, a country’s economy can really benefit from harnessing the full potential of TVET, and Switzerland’s success is living proof of that. The “dual” VET system the Swiss have been running for decades has proven so effective, it is often referred to as the “gold standard” of vocational education.
Digital Education is the Future and These Startups Are Here for It
Rarely has the education system been as shaken as in the last 12 months. Years of slow progress towards digitalization and new learning methods have been replaced by mandatory use of long distance communication tools, new testing methods, and a lot of creativity from teachers and parents on how to engage children in learning. With apps and different online tools becoming a part of children’s lives, it is no wonder that the EdTech startup scene has been flourishing.
According to Crunchbase, venture funding for EdTech reached 4.1 billion USD in the first seven months of 2020, which is 1.5 billion USD more than in the same time frame a year before. It is also the highest amount raised in that frame for the past five years. Most of these deals are still for U.S. based companies, with big players like Skillshare and Materclass raising funds in Series D and E, respectively. Some of the biggest deals are also in China, for example Yuanfudao raised a billion USD in Series G and Zuoyebang raised 750 million USD in Series E.
EdTech wins two years in a row
Many emerging markets are still missing the necessary infrastructure and policies working towards keeping children in school though. Due to low income, children are often forced to leave school and work at a very young age. This is why digital education is especially important in these markets. It is often an answer to issues that involve education inaccessibility and high costs, providing an innovative and quality learning environment to children.
How Diversification Helped Switzerland During the Pandemic
It is well known that Switzerland has one of the strongest economies in the world. With the OECD grouping them into the high-income countries and the second highest GDP in the world, even economy newbies know that this small central-European country is synonymous with stability and prosperity.
The business environment is an interesting mix of world-famous companies, top-notch universities and research facilities, SMEs and startups working in a relatively small geographical area. Ranging from medicine, precious metals and gemstones, heavy machinery, to tobacco, chocolate and luxury perfumes and cosmetics, the 310 billion USD exports can compete with countries with more resources and population.
The Swiss economy is based on a highly qualified labour force working in specialized industries, with the main economic activities being pharmaceuticals, machinery, food and financial services. The “land of watches” can boast its high-class motors, generators, turbines and a whole range of other deep tech products. Continuous investments in research and development (about 3 percent of total GDP) has not only diversified the existing industries, but made it one one of the best places to do business.
Ericsson Innovation Awards 2021
As the world becomes increasingly reliant on technology, the digital divide is growing. Economic, geographic, gender and access factors have left vast portions the global population at a severe disadvantage. The causes are many, including lack of infrastructure, resources and the high cost of devices. Your challenge is to identify a digital divide and develop a solution to bridge it.
How to participate
To enter the awards, you must register with a complete entry by August 5, 2021, 13:00 CET (2:00PM EAT).
A ‘complete entry’ means all required questions are answered and you have registered up to four total team members, all of whom are currently enrolled students pursuing a university degree. To qualify, each team member must be pursuing a higher vocational or academic degree (undergraduate, graduate, or doctorate), and graduating on or after the end date of the Semi-finalist period (September 13, 2021).
We strongly encourage you to embrace diversity and inclusiveness by bringing team members from different disciplines, cultures, life experience and skill sets. We’ve found that diverse teams often produce the most inspired ideas.
Entries are allocated into seven regions, depending on where your university is based.
By registering with a complete submission, you will automatically be entered to compete in the regional competition and will be eligible to be considered for the Global Semi-finals.
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