Education in developing countries has been close to critical for many decades now. Despite the efforts of worldwide contributions to general improvement and betterment of education in poor countries, there has been little or no advancement. The main reasons for such a devastating failure of the hope to provide education for every child in this world lie in the lack of quality infrastructure, lack of capable teacher, unreliable roads and transportation for students, lack of necessary materials, etc. All of this contributes to students’ negative attendance in schools and their lack of commitment to studying.
However, recently there have been some positive changes in the form of educational technologies and their implementation in 3rd world countries. Many are still unsure whether these technologies can actually be appropriately and effectively used in the countries of the developing world, but surely enough, there is hope. In the following paragraphs, we are going to see how and whether it is actually possible to revolutionize education in 3rd world countries using the latest technology.
Innovative EduTech Projects
Over the last ten years, there has been an increase in EduTech projects presented with the purpose of helping improve education in poor, or low-income countries. These projects are following the latest, emerging technological trends, bearing in mind the unwelcoming and challenging roads of having them implemented. Nevertheless, these projects are setting high expectations in regards to finally transforming education in these countries. The projects vary from students having online writing apps and assistants such as EssayShark, to having educational platforms with tech gadgets. Let’s look at some exemplary projects:
The BRCK team has been working on creating Moja, a free public WiFi network that enables internet connectivity throughout the continent of Africa. Based in Nairobi, a regional EduTech innovative center of East Africa, BRCK is now focusing on education technology development. By creating Kio tablets (part of the Kio Kit educational platform) for educational purposes, as well by promoting digital learning and wide connectivity, BRCK is setting the goal of changing the entire education system in 17 African countries.
EkStep is a philanthropic, non-profit organization located in India that focuses its attention on large scale education technology efforts. This means that they are gathering partners around the world in the hope of creating a collaborative platform for better learning opportunities that will reach millions of children. This tech platform is based on providing necessary tools, technology, learning framework and user experience to the children and hopefully, create equitable access to learning opportunities for everyone.
ALISON is a platform that provides free online courses in numerous categories for students in developing countries. Used by almost 13 million learners at the moment, this project is highly successful in its attempt to bring education and skill training closer to those who truly need it. Their mission to enable positive change in educational systems of developing countries is based on educational and technological equality, as well as inclusivity, opportunity, and prosperity to all.
Government Regulations and Changes
One of many problems with education in developing countries is that nothing is actually being government implemented, regulated or expected to change. Sure enough, there are few 3rd world countries that do focus on the education system and pass certain regulations, but nothing on a high scale. In order for the education technologies to be possible and effective in developing countries, it is important to have the government participate in the changes actively.
One great example of government doing a good job is the Kenyan government that has, under the financial help of USAID, enabled thousands or children in primary and private schools an EduTech program named coach-and-tablet. The government has regulated a curriculum based on synthetic phonics and enabled distribution of books, together with detailed lesson plans. This program has made it easier for teachers and students respectively to provide and access data, teach and learn and practice skills much easier. The Kenyan government has recognized the importance of educational technologies being accessible to schools as well as to children and students. It is expected from other countries and their governments to adopt the same plan, as it is quite easy to do, especially since USAID covers the majority of expenses.
Encouraging Foreign Investment
As we know it – developing countries are relying on foreign investment in regards to betterment and development. Even though some think that foreign investment has become an empty story, it is certainly the most important link between educational technologies and their proper implementation. Foreign investment is important because local governments are not able to deal properly with all the basic issue in regards to enabling a normal life, not to mention technologies in classrooms. There is simply a lack of local initiative to get things going, which is completely understandable when we take into consideration that developing countries deal with the lack of food, water, shelter, electricity, job opportunities, and medical services.
Therefore, the goal should be to undergo research and determine the necessities for educational technologies to be implemented. Of course, rich donors would be reluctant to donate when countries don’t have electricity, facilities and proper environment for the EduTech to serve its purpose. Therefore, it is important to look into the significance of building equipped schools, deal with teacher shortages and encourage children to attend schools in order to attract investment. That is when educational technology will blossom and help these children, and their countries blossom as well.