OREANDA-NEWS. The first cross-sector and regional meeting to address the role of technology in education will take place this May, with the presence of high-level government officials, wherein the role of connectivity and technology in education and the effective transformation of education process will be discussed.

To increase and transform the quality of education in Latin America, promote the connectivity to Internet in all class rooms, digitize the education as well as involved region's lawmakers to prioritize these topics at the national level, CAF, Development Bank of Latin America, and the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (CEPAL) in its role as Technical Secretary of eLAC with support from Cisco, are working together.

To reach their objectives, CAF, CEPAL and Cisco have arranged a series of Digitization Education Forums, which will take place over the coming months, initially in Argentina, Brazil, Costa Rica, Colombia, Ecuador Mexico, and Peru. Participating in the forums will be leaders from the education sector, nongovernmental organizations, industry representatives, policymakers, and other members of government engaged in policy issues related to education, information technology, telecom, and finance.

Additionally, ECLAC will host the first cross-sector and regional meeting to talk about Information and CommunicationsTechnology, ICT's role in a broadband connection of  classrooms and transforming education, which will include the presence of high-level government officials, offering a platform for the exchange of ideas, best practices and lessons learned. ECLAC, CAF and Cisco's objective for the meeting is to develop a set of concrete goals for this digital education initiative and to garner support from all authorities involved.

According to UNESCO, 58 million primary-school-aged children world-wide lack access to education. Over 250 million children of fourth- and fifth-grade age are not able to write, read, or do basic math. Enabled specifically by classroom Internet connectivity, the digitization of education provides a unique opportunity to solve challenges and change education in Latin America. When combined with high-quality curriculum development and specialized teacher training programs tailored to the context and level of complexity of the learning environment, digital education has the potential to transform new generations of students into 21st-century thinkers.

Documented experiences in the study School Connectivity for the 21st Century from Cisco, Ireland, New Zealand, Portugal, Botswana, the United States, and Uruguay in Latin America, among other countries, have demonstrated that bringing Internet to the classroom under programs that are specifically planned for the purpose of enhancing the education environment and student outcomes, and that complement the objectives of formal education, train students with the required skills to live, work and succeed in an increasing digital world. Political willingness and the authorization of programs that facilitate recurrent streams of funding, make it possible to connect country's classrooms in five to seven years or less.