As thousands of educators, entrepreneurs and investors gathered at the recent ASU + GSV Summit, a growing number recognized the need and opportunities for educational innovation in developing countries, especially for the more than 250 million children who do not have access to school.
But many of the proposed solutions still focus on Internet-based solutions Adjustable, digital learning solutions are clearly missing from the landscape Offline.
When we work to increase universal access to the Internet, the edtech ecosystem cannot ignore the millions of unconnected children today who are interested in learning.
Consider the phenomenon in Africa to understand these needs and opportunities.
According to the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Population Dynamics, the continent’s share of the world’s population is projected to increase from 17% in 2020 to 26% in 2050. The need for scalable, functional and technology-enabled education will also increase significantly, as 450 million children will be born in Africa in the 2020s and more than 550 million in the 2040s.
However, the International Finance Corporation reports that only 22% of Africans use the Internet and perhaps less than 5% of the least privileged children.
Even if these children could gain access to the Internet, most would find it costly to learn how to use it. This is because the cost of data does not allow them to learn on these platforms, much less well – how people in high-income countries had access to the internet 15 years ago but did not use it to stream movies.
As a result, these children need an offline digital solution that adapts to the child’s learning needs.
Nonprofit Imagine Worldwide (where I’m a board member)
Imagine Worldwide, which I wrote about earlier, is currently partnering with local organizations in seven sub-Saharan African countries to provide child-directed, technology-enabled education that is accessible, effective and affordable.