Education is a human right and a basic need that children and adults alike do not always receive in developing countries. In 1820, only 12 percent of the people in the world could read. By 2016, the percentages reversed and only 14 percent of the world population was illiterate. However, in countries like Niger, South Sudan and Burkina Faso, the rate of literacy is below 30 percent. With eLearning or electronic learning, these countries might be able to hope for a better future and potentially change their country’s path into a better economy and education system. Here is some information about how eLearning can help developing countries.
eLearning and its Benefits
eLearning is a form of learning through electronic devices like computers, tablets or any other electronic device that one can connect to the internet. Essentially, it is education online.
eLearning can help developing countries because it is not only incredibly adaptable but also cost-effective as it removes the need for buying printed course materials. It also helps improve performance and productivity as it gives the user flexibility to learn at their own pace as they can repeat lectures as many times as they desire. It also facilitates students by cutting the transport factor when countries struggle with public transport and other logistics.
The Department of Higher Education and Training in South Africa said that it has committed itself to “an expansion of online resources” for more colleges and universities to adapt to and reach rural communities so students study and learn at a time and place convenient for them. There are 14.8 million people without access to transport in rural areas.
eLearning is also environmentally friendly. In fact, it consumes 90 percent less power and has generated 85 percent less CO2 emissions compared to onsite education.
Costs of eLearning
However, while eLearning has many benefits for developing countries, it also comes at a cost. The biggest setback is that some developing countries cannot adapt to eLearning due to the lack of access to high-speed internet, trained IT personnel or access to electrical power.
Another setback is that governments need to approve and adapt their education system to deploy eLearning, which relies heavily on investing. According to Market Research, some states in Africa have been investing heavily in eLearning, growing at a rate of 15 percent per year.
South Africa has the largest open distance eLearning institution, The University of South Africa, with a student headcount of over 300,000. In 2011, 91 percent of its students were from South Africa.
UNESCO and other GNO’s initiatives have been aiding countries to obtain access to the internet to be able to utilize eLearning. Senegal and Zambia should grow up to 30 percent in the developing and deployment of eLearning.
India and Latin America are Catching Up
With a population of over 1.2 billion in India, the customer size should grow from 370 million to 500 in 2020. Another factor of this growth is that eLearning has also reached rural areas, promoting India’s economical and educational growth, booming the market.
One can greatly attribute much of this to India’s government work on promoting online sources and eLearning. The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology said that eLearning is one of the “key tools for imparting education.”
According to Business Wire, Latin America is expecting to create revenues of $3 billion by 2023, a growth of more than 4 percent in the use of eLearning.
Countries like Brazil, Mexico, Chile and Argentina have adopted eLearning and overall, revenues should reach $2.2 billion and are growing at an annual rate of 14.6 percent. The increase in these percentages of eLearning use has also been possible with the help of the increasing rise in the use of smartphones and the exchange of audio and text-based applications.
From this revenue, Brazil has been investing in eLearning to adapt it into the educational curriculum, and now 51 percent of institutions utilize eLearning. Overall, technology and innovation are at the forefront of investments in Brazilian schools.
With the help of governments and NGOs, eLearning can help developing countries by helping education reach children and adults alike. Subsequently, this could aid the growth of country’s economies and education systems with eLearning as a key tool as more and more countries adapt to online resources, adding themselves to the eLearning market.
– Merlina San Nicolás Leyva