All children regardless of country or social status should have access to a quality education. A good education broadens employability, and has the power to lift countries out of poverty. However, the ability to implement a strong education infrastructure depends on a country’s economic situation, and its access to well trained, resourced teachers. Empowering students through the use of technology can rapidly accelerate improvements in children’s prospects throughout the developing world.

Education Technology (EdTech) can enable access to education and promote social and learning impact. In countries where overfull classes are unsustainable for teachers to manage, technology can act as the second teacher in the room. It is believed that 30 million children in Africa aren’t receiving a primary-school education, but 73 per cent of Africans have access to mobile phones. Children in Africa are as naturally adept at using mobile technology as their counterparts in the developed world. The potential to improve education via this manner is huge. 

Innovators within the African continent are only too aware of the challenges they face around the digital divide and education, which is why they’re perfectly placed to create relevant technological solutions. Mtabe is a Tanzanian-made AI-powered platform which uses SMS to provide personalised instant learning content and answers from a virtual tutor, for users without internet access. Described as being an ‘off-line search engine’, this type of innovation is significant for Tanzania, where the textbook-student ratio is 1:10 and the teacher-student ratio is 1:55. Suddenly, resources start to become available to all, levelling the playing field for children. 

Technology can teach children important life skills such as the importance of helping others. Aaron Friedland, the founder of e-learning solution the Walking School Bus for children in Uganda, has created a literacy app called SimBi. Children in developed countries record themselves reading stories out loud, which are then shared via the app for children in Uganda to listen to, to help them improve their reading and pronunciation of words. Following the uptake of the app, Friedland has since launched a solar powered class room in Uganda. The entrepreneur wanted to make the app and other educational content readily available in remote villages. So the company has built an innovative off-grid, solar powered classroom combining hardware and software to make education accessible. 

‘Twinning’ schools and facilities is becoming increasingly popular. In China, the educational department in the Zhejiang Province plans to introduce live streaming classes and online video courses from urban schools to support their paired counterparts in rural areas. Teachers from the paired schools will also prepare lessons together and support each other with correcting and marking homework.

Technology is not only helping to tackle literacy issues, but is opening up the world of science too. 

Praxilabs is a start-up company from Egypt which has created virtual laboratories for schools and learning organisations in the Middle East. Students can access 3D simulations of experiments in biology, physics and chemistry. Other multimedia files also help students perform their scientific experiments, which can be integrated with schools’ existing learning management systems.  

Successful education entrepreneur, Indian billionaire  Sunny Varkey, is dedicated to improving global teacher capacity and promote universal access to good quality education. Varkey launched the Global Education & Skills Forum (GESF), to discuss such issues, and has also run projects in Uganda and Ghana to improve education. For both entrepreneurs in EdTech and teachers, working to improve the lives of children is much more of a vocation than a job.  The most ingenious innovations show that barriers such as a lack of resources, electricity or even infrequent internet access should no longer stand in the way of lifelong learning. 

Contact Us

If you have any questions