Across the developing world, students are clamoring for access to technology. Despite high profile projects targeting to upend traditional schooling in the developing world (One Lap Top Per Child and Hole in the Wall), the use of computers for the vast majority of students is non-existent or confined to an “ICT” curriculum. ICT’s primary emphasis is basic computer literacy – ie What is a mouse? Computers are not used as a tool for learning and hundreds of millions of children have no access to the digital age. We think this is a tragedy! Yet students’ enthusiasm is undaunted and an enormous opportunity exists to improve the quality of education in affordable private schools in the developing world. Edify seeks to support these schools as they pursue this opportunity in a sustainable manner.
In 2010-2011, Edify began a pilot program of computer labs in 15 schools in Ghana and the Dominican Republic. In 2012, Edify had developed and is launching the CLASS Project – Computer Lab Access for Sustainable Schools – a complete loan product offering for a computer lab in schools. We believe it’s critical to offer high quality educational software and teacher support alongside the hardware. The opportunity therefore is to develop a loan offering that can be used:
- to expand the horizons for kids by engaging and motivating students in their own learning,
- to extend academic learning with basic differentiated instruction,
- to provide opportunity for practical/vocational skill acquisition in computers,
- to cover the ICT curriculum requirements and achieve basic computer literacy
Over the next several posts, we will talk about our approach to this initiative and what we are learning so far.