Both the internet and the modern post office have expanded the possibilities for learning, and it’s pretty safe to assume that the socioeconomic status of countless individuals could experience a drastic upturn in the coming years, thanks to the recent developments in the accessibility of quality learning tools.
Even though many challenges still exist for third world students, such as the scarcity of professional teachers, lack of adequate print resources for in-class training, and issues with gender discrimination among women, programs such as the Global Partnership for Education have diligently donated time and resources in order to provide better classroom settings and tools that will enhance each learner’s experience.
When the traditional classroom isn’t an option
However, in situations where the traditional classroom simply isn’t cost or time-efficient, virtual resources and educational programs help to fill in the gaps while offering students a wealth of new opportunities.
Let’s take a look at some of the top distance learning programs available these days and how top colleges and universities are working to provide free instruction to students from across the globe.
Distance Learning Through MOOCS and OCW
Both the MOOCS and OCW provide students with no-cost access to quality educational resources, and a number of prestigious universities, such as the John Hopkin’s School of Public Health, are involved in the creation and distribution of such valuable content. Essentially, colleges and universities create a diverse collection of course offerings, some of which can lead to certification in specific subjects.
Other virtual platforms are offering free access to quality educational resources, and even such giants as Youtube are involved in these efforts. Aside from the courses themselves, free online textbook companies (such as Bookboon.com) are helping to solve the problem of international shipping charges and issues with supply and demand.
The challenges and opportunities
Although these revolutionary resources hold massive potential for developing countries, there exist other disadvantages. Many of these programs offer credit in the form of certifications instead of an actual college degree.
Also, technological availability and internet connection issues (particularly for remote areas) can certainly cause frustration and discouragement among students.
However, massive projects are in the works. Investment into alternative energy science can help to bring technology to places that were once considered much too remote. The recent induction of highly affordable laptops and tablets into the market should help to maximize donations, as more and more individuals will be able to access them.
Helping the developing world catch up
Right now, more than ever, it’s pivotal for schools, colleges, and universities to invest in educational programs for these geographic areas. It’s so easy for educators to get involved and make a difference, for online use is a fantastic way to give back, and teachers should seek out these platforms as part of their ongoing professional development. Likewise, schools should be willing to invest in such outreach projects, encouraging this free exchange of content that could literally save the world.