STMicroelectronics FOUNDATION’S 2020 ACTIVITY REPORT
Along 2020 the key scopes of the ST Foundation were:
- the activation of educational initiatives to support the formal school systems cope with the Covid 19 scenario;
- the creation of new learning paths strengthening the attention of the organization towards underprivileged population in all intervention countries;
- continue the standards program wherever possible.
The Digital Unify Program offered free computer access and training to 774,663 beneficiaries since its inception and as of December 2020.
2020 Milestones and Report Summary:
- Change in the Board
- Update on DU activities
- “Society Digitalization” Program: Focus on Italy and France
- Creation of two new online courses
- Creation of the ST Foundation’s E-Learning platform
- The ST Foundation communication activity
- The online data reporting system
- DU pictures
- Change in the Board
Mr. Philippe Brun, further to his exit from STMicroelectronics Group, has resigned from his position as Member of the Board of Directors of ST Foundation. Mr. Jean-Louis Champseix, Corporate Responsibility, Staffing HR and CSR Group Vice President in ST, was appointed as new Member of the Board.
- Update on DU Activities
Looking backward at 2020, we see how the year was a huge moment of crisis and, at the same time, an opportunity to evolve and rethink the Foundation’s activities. Everywhere in the world, the sanitary situation has shaped a new world with new needs. The world turned digital as remote work and distance learning skyrocketed due to Covid-19.
This unprecedented move into the virtual world pushed the ST Foundation in accelerating the study of new partnerships and projects with the scope of supporting formal school systems and fragile communities sharing competencies and resources in its key area of expertise: Informatics.
On the other side, as we all know it, the standard DU Program was abruptly stopped in March by the pandemic. Only during the last quarter, it restarted in few countries following new sanitary rules and protocols.
As of the end of December, 774,663 trainees were reached since the inception of the program, and 44,778 students took part in the ICB, Advanced Courses, and Tablet for Kids classes only in 2020.
In 2020, the trainee breakdown by country is shown below:
- Standard DU Program update
The standard DU Program activities, represented by the deployment of the ICB, T4K, and Advanced courses, began regularly in the first months of the year. Then starting from March, they drastically decreased in most of the intervention areas.
Only few countries, like for instance, Burundi and Congo D.R., could somehow continue their activities, not having been impacted much by the pandemic. In other cases, like the one of India, the standard courses could continue, even if on a smaller scale, thanks to the initiative of some partners that tried to organize the very same activities online.
“Society Digitalisation” Program: Focus on Italy and France
Covid 19 has created the most extensive disruption of education systems in history. Everywhere in the world, the sanitary crisis has generated a considerable acceleration of the digitalization process, thus revealing new aspects of the digital divide, new configurations where the ST Foundation could intervene, reaching new beneficiaries. This path has been walked, reinforcing the organization’s partnership approach following the UN Secretary-General Mr. António Guterres’s guidelines to the member States, which state that “Our world can only get ahead of this virus one way, together.”
Based on this principle, the Foundation boosted the collaboration with those partners who could help the organization interact with the most fragile beneficiaries: schools and needy communities. This renovated cooperation approach facilitated the evolution of a new panel of activities, called the « Society Digitalization » Program, first focused on Europe.
In fact, during the first lockdown period, the educational fragility of European countries emerged clearly. The Foundation strong of the ST sites’ support decided to focus its attention right on Italy and France to help both countries deal with the pandemic’s rising school challenges.
The pandemic harshly impacted the life of the country in many aspects, and education was one of these. As all the courses and educational activities were organized online, not all families had the same opportunities. While school entrusted the Internet with the difficult task of managing all educational programs, all stopped in March 2020, we found out that almost 30% of families did not have any device at home. Therefore, the ST Foundation decided to contribute to the support of formal education, sharing both competencies and resources in its area of expertise. To launch these new activities, it partnered with two Italian NGOs, ACRA Foundation and CIAI, both experienced and well-connected organizations that became the bridge between the Foundation and the actual schools and students’ needs in Lombardy and Sicily. Both projects were operationally implemented with the precious contribution of the ST volunteers.
The first initiative to start was #We are All Connected. STMicroelectronics Foundation and ACRA launched it with the scope of helping Italian schools familiarize with the online world, differentiating the activities in two phases:
Phase one – Donation of equipment to less fortunate families in Lombardy (Italy).
In the first moments of the pandemic, the most urgent requests from the schools of the Region were related to the lack of IT tools to help students follow the regular classes organized online. Following this exact need, on April 24, the ST Foundation organized, with ACISMOM military corps’ support, an ad hoc intervention to distribute over 100 laptops to 9 schools located in Agrate Brianza and Milan. The PCs’ donation continued in May, with other 70 computers distributed in Lecco, Monza, and Milan. Moreover, following its partners’ precious indications, the Foundation identified new potential beneficiaries in Sicily, where over 160 PCs were donated. These first initiatives allowed children who are living in complex socio-economic contexts to follow their online classes.
At the end of the first lockdown period, the Foundation continued working with ACRA to evaluate new answers to support the school system manage those needs that emerged during the pandemic. With this purpose, the Foundation started working on an initiative entirely devoted to teachers’ demands and needs to better familiarize with the online world to organize their classes in a more engaging way.
Phase two – Creation of new courses/contents for the school’s teachers.
In September, with the strong possibility of going back to the same educational scenario, the Foundation, and its partner ACRA, decided to extend the collaboration working together on reinforcing teachers’ skills to contribute to the creation of the 2.0 school. This second phase of cooperation was officially launched in October 2020. It was entirely focused on creating a course dedicated to improving teachers’ skills in using IT tools for distance learning. The 5-module course was designed with the ST volunteers’ support to allow teachers to experiment and develop activities inspired by outdoor education, stimulating the students’ participation. Between November and December, 158 teachers attended our online courses dedicated to using GSuite for Education.
The Foundation did not stop there, and it also offered teachers and students “ecofriendly” content to enrich the school curricula with the subject of global citizenship. A topic that is now more than ever relevant to face the growing challenges and needs of the world we all live in.
In parallel, in September 2020, the Foundation also launched the Tu6prof project in partnership with CIAI. The initiative was mainly focused on Sicily and on the will of helping the region fight the strong existing digital divide that caused severe problems to school children in following online classes during the lockdown. With the support of CIAI and the Catania ST volunteers, it was possible to work on different actions. More in detail, the partners worked first on renewing the existing teaching approaches by creating a dedicated e-learning platform full of exciting e-contents. Secondly, it was planned to set up a fully equipped IT center in the ITC Amari Roncalli school in Palermo and work on eLearning tutorials for trainees, families, and students to help them better use technology. These activities will be finalized in Q1 2021.
There is no doubt that the lockdown accentuated the digital divide and educational inequalities, also in France. Children from disadvantaged areas were left behind when schools switched abruptly to remote learning in March because of lockdown measures. According to the Education Ministry, the digital gap forced 500,000 low-income students in France to drop out of school, causing a severe issue for the catching up. In this delicate situation, the Foundation decided to reinforce its efforts against the digital divide extending the #We are all connected principle also to France, implementing specific actions and more in detail:
- On July 7, 20 PCs were donated to the Thomas Edison High School of Échirolles, France. Patrick Dureault, Board Member of the Foundation, was present for the occasion and underlined that “the Foundation’s mission is the fight against the Digital Divide. This donation goes precisely in the direction of helping bridge the digital gap in an essential context, education in the post-Covid-19 scenario.
- On September 16, another 15 laptops were donated to the association “Ma Chance Moi Aussi” in Chambéry (France). Children, families, and teachers will now have the right tools to bridge the gap.
- Creation of two new online courses
- Tableting other video courses
Covid 19 has shown the fragilities of a particular population: the elderly. Especially during the first semester of the year, most of them were left alone either in hospitals or retirement homes with limited possibilities to contact their relatives, not having the means or the competencies to communicate. For this reason, the Foundation, collaborating with seed, Swiss NGO that is already helping the organization develop courses like the tablet for kids and tablets for seniors, created an online course made of 10 videos to explain the basics of how to use a tablet to communicate with the external world. The course is available in Italian, and in Q1 2021 it will also be presented in its French and English versions.
- ICBVI online courses
In 2019 the ST Foundation, in collaboration with Dr. Cristian Bernareggi of the University of Milan, launched a new course dedicated to the visually impaired. The course was first prepared and tested in Sierra Leone, and then with the outbreak of the pandemic in Q1 2020, it was decided to “turn” it into an online course. The English and Italian versions have been completed and converted into MP3 audio format
- Creation of the ST Foundation’s an E-Learning platform
The ST Foundation created an eLearning platform to host the newly developed courses and to manage the activities that were more and more organized online. The tool was used in November and December to host the five modules of the #Weareallconntedproject.
In Q1 2021, the tool will be fully released to organize the Foundation’s standard activities wherever needed.
The platform will be available in Italian, English, French, Chinese, and Hindi to start with, and many more options can be available upon request.
- The ST Foundation communication activity
The ST Foundation and the ST Corporate External Communication team continued to collaborate also in 2019. With their support, the 2019 Annual Report was prepared and distributed to ST Foundation’s stakeholders, giving them insights into the key moments that characterized the year’s activities.
Despite the difficulties and constraints caused by the pandemic also in 2020, with the support of the ST Volunteers (Italy) and the ST Site of Agrate Brianza, the fifth edition of the Energy Run was organized in Aldo Moro Park on September 23. Over 400 runners took part in the race to give their best to finish the race dirty and happy. This edition of the run was important, and it proved once again that we could overcome every challenge if we stay together. The Foundation welcomed the participants who contributed to animate the run. Thanks to the public and sponsors’ good participation, the Foundation collected extra funds to support Italy’s ongoing activities.
- Fundraising Activities
Despite the problematic scenario in which the Foundation had been working in, it completed the second year of the AICS project. The three hubs in Senegal and Guinea Bissau have become operational. Train the trainer courses were held to relaunch the basic courses (Senegal and Guinea Bissau) and start advanced courses (Senegal). Starting from September, ICB courses could begin in the two labs located in Senegal, while the situation in Guinea Bissau was still on hold because of Covid 19. For the implemented activities, we received a donation of over 27.000 euros.
- Online data reporting system.
The ST Foundation monitors its activities on a real-time basis using an online reporting system. In 2020 the existing tool was enriched and also improved with the possibility of organizing e-Learning activities.
Courses organized and students trained during 2020
With the same tool, the organization can collect personal data on the beneficiaries attending the courses and therefore understand the coming trends and specific needs of its different publics.
Example of statistics showing the age of the participants together with the occupation and level of education
The personal data are enriched by the information collected through the dedicated feedbacks questionnaire, which ICB students have to reply to at the end of their classes. This tool helps the organization monitor the impact of this learning path on student’s habits.
The results are remarkable:
- 91% of students would cascade what they learned to family and friends.
- 90% of students would suggest to their friends to attend the course.
- 75% of the students were comfortable using a PC after having attended the course.
Students who were e-illiterate before attending the ST Foundations ICB classes, at the end of the course, used their new competencies to surf the Internet (80%); communicate with friends and use social media (77%), do easy calculations (72%) and write documents (71%). It’s also interesting to notice that 55% of our respondents used the ICB competencies to look for a job.
Table 1 Replies to the question “Currently do you use the computer for?” showing the World Wide overview on the impact of the ICB Course
|Not at all||Little||Moderate||Very much||Total|
|Looking for a job||21%||23%||43%||12%||100%|
|Write a resume||15%||23%||43%||19%||100%|
|Write a document||10%||19%||47%||24%||100%|
|Communicate/chatting with friends/social media||9%||16%||42%||35%||100%|
|Not at all||Little||Moderate||Very much||Total|
|I hesitate to use a computers for fear of making mistakes that I cannot correct||32%||25%||37%||6%||100%|
|I feel comfortable to use computers||09%||16%||49%||26%||100%|
- ST Foundation’s worldwide trainers’ survey
The lockdown period was used to launch an extensive trainers survey involving the ST Foundation’s trainers in seven countries and more in detail: Burundi, Morocco, Senegal, Philippines, India, Sierra Leone, and Malaysia. The survey’s scope was to understand better if the key courses the Foundation was offering, ICB and T4K, were still in line with the beneficiaries’ needs or if they needed further updates and customizations.
One hundred eighty-six trainers were contacted through an online survey, reaching a response rate of 82%. The quantitative data collected through the questionnaire were then completed by the direct contributions and feedbacks received through forty-five trainers’ interviews with the most experienced collaborators of four key countries: Burundi, India, Morocco, and Sierra Leone. The qualitative feedback was interesting and helpful in collecting concrete suggestions and ideas to review the DU Program under many aspects. A dedicated task force was created to proceed to update the ICB manual by Q2 2021.
- DU Pictures
Picture 1.PCs Donation to the IC school of Agrate on April 24 with Giovanna Bottani, ACRA and ACISMOM representatives
Picture 2.On September 16, Patrick Dureault officially delivered 15 laptops to the association
“Ma Chance Moi Aussi” in Chambéry (France)
Picture 3.Francesco Caizzone, Francesco Litrico and Enrico Riva ready to distribuite PCs to Sicilian Municipalities on May 14.
Picture 4.PCs ready to be distributed in the Milano area by ACISMOM representatives.