DigiTruck Ethiopia, a project that enables the provision of digital skills training for students in remote areas via a mobile digital classroom equipped with high-end learning electronic gadgets, was launched today.
A global initiative by Huawei, the project was launched in Ethiopia in collaboration with the Ethiopian Ministry of Education and iCOG Anyone Can Code (iCOG ACC), a subsidiary of iCog Labs, an AI, and robotics research and development firm.
DigiTruck Ethiopia will conduct a country-wide technical tour on its refurbished 40-foot container as a training hub equipped with laptop computers, robotic devices, and microelectronics. In addition, DigiTruck has connectivity that is completely self-sustainable and can reach remote locations.
The tour will be conducted in multiple Ethiopian cities to raise awareness about the benefits of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) education.
Since 2014, Huawei and a Belgian-based NGO called Close the Gap have built nine mobile, solar-powered classrooms to bring digital skills to underserved communities. A converted shipping container on wheels, DigiTruck can get to communities that conventional classrooms can’t reach.
Equipped with 20 laptops, 20 VR headsets, and built-in Wi-Fi, DigiTruckss serves as a temporary digital school that provides free classes, resources, and materials. With courses running for up to a month, DigiTruck can help close the digital gap by expanding digital literacy.
In Ethiopia, the DigiTruck project aims to bridge the digital divide by establishing a framework for kids and young adults to be introduced to computers, programming, the Internet of Things (IoT), and other emerging technologies at an early age.
During the launching ceremony, Prof. Birhanu Nega, Minister of the Ministry of Education, remarked, “Huawei’s DigiTruck Ethiopia project, coinciding with iCOG Anyone Can Code, is one of the initiatives aiming at improving the knowledge of our children and youths on the most basic and, of course, latest technology.”
The project, which was launched after a year of preparation, hopes that through the DigiTruck Ethiopia project, Ethiopian students can enjoy the benefits of digital technology and experience the charm of digital technology in an immersive way.
Huawei Northern Africa region vice president Leo Liu said “Huawei Ethiopia is delighted to bring one of its flagship projects to Ethiopia. Our company has always been committed to building a solid IT talent ecosystem in Ethiopia. We are pleased to bring digital trucks to Ethiopia as part of Huawei Tech4all- leave no one behind.”
The project will continue the coding tour for the next seven years, reaching multiple zonal towns throughout the country with the assistance of universities, regional education bureaus, partner organizations, and other concerned educational institutions.
“By implementing this project, we hope to provide the same opportunity that I had as a child.” Introduction to the basic skillsets of the 21st century, tech education is critical for today’s youth because it provides them with the opportunity and freedom to create,” said the CEO of iCOG ACC, Betelhem Dessie.
“By inspiring the next generation of coders, DigiTurk is building a network of innovators that will shape the future of the country’s tech ecosystem. This project is a big component in our growing effort to educate kids and youth around Ethiopia on digital literacy, coding, and robotics,” she added.
The launching ceremony was attended by different high-ranking government officials, including Fitsum Adela of the Ethiopian Plan Ministry.