When it comes to global learning, we are losing ground. The latest figures from the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) indicate that 617 million children and adolescents lack proficiency in reading and math. The figure includes 387 million children of primary school age (56%) and 230 million adolescents of lower secondary school age (61%). What’s most alarming about the figures is that two-thirds of these children who are not learning are in school!
The economic impact of the learning crisis is twofold, explains the World Economic Forum (WEF). Lack of proficiency in basic skills threatens the ability of individuals to rise from poverty by improving their opportunities for better jobs. The WEF points out that “each additional year of schooling can improve an individual’s job prospects and raise their income by 10-20%, if they gain the required skillsets.”
Also, the jobs of the future with their dependence on technical competency require a workforce that has strong math and reading ability, in addition to being able to problem solve and think creatively to adapt to a rapid pace of change. The UIS figures indicate that on a global level on every continent, children will not be prepared to take on the challenging jobs that will help them thrive individually and advance the communities and countries in which they live.
Technology can make a difference
While technology is not the only solution to resolving the learning crisis (teachers, as well as proven educational policies, re also essential), it is making a difference in classrooms across the globe. Technology through online teaching materials, interactive content, tutorials and practice work sessions can accommodate the individual learning needs and challenges of students. Digital simulations and models help students understand concepts that they otherwise might not comprehend through traditional learning. By enabling students to learn the way “they learn best,” technology also is helping teachers better manage their classrooms. They don’t have to spend disproportionate amounts of time with the students who struggle at the expense of other students.
Lack of access to technology in the developing world
However, in classrooms across the developing world, there is a critical shortage of technology to help students learn as well as acquire the computer skills they will need for the jobs of the future. Providing computer technology is one of the primary areas where Ann Foundation is helping to address the educational shortcoming in schools in developing countries.
In April 2015, Ann Foundation donated computers and laptops to the Khadijatul Kubra Girls Mission (KKGM), which is home to 540 destitute girls in Kolkata. In February of this year, Ann Foundation donated 10 more new computers and helped furnish a computer lab which was named after the CEO of the Ann Foundation.
The girls have been enthusiastic and industrious using computers. Contact us to learn more about our work providing disadvantaged children with computer technology to advance learning.