Educating the world through mobile learning

This weekend, I came across an article published by the World Economic Forum about mobile learning, Accelerating the adoption of mlearning – A call for collective and collaborative action. While only 25% of homes in developing countries have a computer, just about every individual owns a mobile device. In Somalia, the same holds true. This is a country in which unemployment rates often hover around 60%. A non-profit, USAID, and a local Somalian Telco partnered in order to offer this group of young job seekers help in employment related work skills via interactive audio instruction. In nearly 3 years, 900 people have used the programme and 80% of these people have found jobs or internships. 

The same white paper refers to the numbers of young people around the world learning life skills via mobile devices from inspirational educators at the very top of their expertise areas. I may speak for many of you when I recall, sitting as a child in schoolbenches, listening to uninspiring teachers, who were trying to teach me subjects which have little or no value in today’s economy.

If we can educate as few as 10% more young people through to graduation, just think what the effect could be on the global economy in the next 10 to 20 years. Although, I guess it’s still easier said than done. We first need to get governments and cable companies on board and improve broadband connections around the world. According to the World Bank, a 10% increase in broadband penetration can lead to an increase of 1,38% of the GDP of low to medium income countries. 

So what’s stopping us? Whether we personally coach and mentor young people to stay in school longer, or we stream intuitively simple-to-learn information to these children, who cares! As long as these youngsters are learning life skills which will help them grow and become self sufficient in the future. In the words of Albert Einstein, “Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school.” 

Hopefully food for thought! What are you doing to help?

I launched Fair Chance Foundation for Deloitte Netherlands in July 2010. We focus on coaching and mentoring children from less privileged neighbourhoods and improving financial education in these schools. About 600 Deloitte Netherlands employees per year volunteer through Fair Chance Foundation.

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