11 March 2011
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Ericsson (Stockholm)

Celebrating World Read Aloud Day - The Power of Broadband for Education

press release
  • March 9, 2011 was World Read Aloud Day
  • Ericsson and Airtel enable school children in Ghana to share experiences with their peers in the United States

According to a report by the Commission on Reading "The single most important activity for building the knowledge required for eventual success is reading aloud to children."

This year marked the second annual World Read Aloud Day, a day set aside to celebrate the power of words and stories and take action for global literacy. Organized by Litworld - a nonprofit organization headed by renowned literacy educator and advocate Pam Allyn, the Read Aloud Day reached 35 countries and 40,000 participants in 2010.

To celebrate, Ericsson and Airtel Ghana working in partnership enabled the connection of three schools in Ghana – Opoku Ware in Kumasi and Osu Home Junior High School and Boundary Road Cluster Junior High Schools in Accra – to Sidwell Friends School and Arts & Technology Academy (ATA) both in Washington D.C., Bronxville Public Schools in New York, and to New Village Academy, in California, USA.

This World Read Aloud Day celebration marks the expansion to Accra of the existing partnership between Ericsson and Airtel Ghana with MCI and the City of Kumasi, where, in 2010, Ericsson and Airtel Ghana enabled Internet broadband connectivity to be provided to 18 junior and senior high schools as part of a MCI project to train teachers in the uses of technology and the Internet in the teaching of science, math and IT.

During a 3-way video conversation, a collective story written by Sidwell Friends students and Opoku Ware students was shared alongside original stories from ATA student teams. Thereafter, they sang and danced and the students were then encouraged to discuss and ask each other questions. The questions centred on the importance of reading, how they like to read aloud to their friends, whether they are read to at home, and what languages they speak and so on. The Washington students were very impressed at the number of languages spoken by the young Kumasi students.

Susan Blaustein, MCI Co-Director, who watched the live exchange from ATA, says: "the students were so excited to meet and speak with their peers in Ghana. They are already making plans for the next intercontinental Read Aloud Skype "date," to be accompanied, both sides promised, by showing and teaching each other a local song and dance. There is nothing like this kind of live connection, the literacy teacher told me, to inspire the students to write, read and speak publicly. It was truly a great day, all around."

At Osu Home Junior High in Accra, and Bronxville Public Schools in New York, the Mayor of Accra and the Mayor of Bronxville read to children who then read to each other and enjoyed a cultural exchange.

Alan Triggs, head of Ericsson Ghana, says: "It was a fantastic journey of discovery for the children, during which they made new friends of different cultures and explored life as a child on another continent. For Ericsson this is part of our broader commitment to Connect to Learn, a global educational initiative promoting access to secondary education. The first schools connected are in Ghana, and it quickly becomes obvious to see what broadband and Internet can do for education in Africa."

The Commission on Reading was created in 1983, it was funded by the U. S. Department of Education to study the best way to increase knowledge and reading in children. The commission evaluated ten thousand research studies over the course of two years and reported their results in Becoming a Nation of Readers.

More information about Ericsson initiatives: www.ericsson.com/thecompany/sustainability_corporateresponsibility/enabling_communication_for_all

More information on the Millennium Cities Initiative: http://mci.ei.columbia.edu/

For more information on Connect to Learn: www.connecttolearn.org

More information on Litworld: http://www.litworld.org/worldreadaloudday/

More information on Airtel Ghana: http://www.africa.airtel.com/ghana/

Our multimedia content is available at the broadcast room: www.ericsson.com/broadcast_room

Ericsson is the world's leading provider of technology and services to telecom operators. Ericsson is the leader in 2G, 3G and 4G mobile technologies, and provides support for networks with over 2 billion subscribers and has the leading position in managed services. The company's portfolio comprises mobile and fixed network infrastructure, telecom services, software, broadband and multimedia solutions for opera

tors, enterprises and the media industry. The Sony Ericsson and ST-Ericsson joint ventures provide consumers with feature-rich personal mobile devices. Ericsson is advancing its vision of being the "prime driver in an all-communicating world" through innovation, technology, and sustainable business solutions. Working in 175 countries, more than 90,000 employees generated revenue of SEK 203.3 billion (USD 28.2 billion) in 2010. Founded in 1876 with the headquarters in Stockholm, Sweden, Ericsson is listed on NASDAQ OMX, Stockholm and NASDAQ New York.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:

Ericsson Media Relations in sub-Saharan Africa

E-mail: rssa.corporate.communications@ericsson.com

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