Blog 3 (Fall 2016) – E-learning, by Roxana Rosala

First of all, I’d like to look at what E-Learning is and why it is important.

E-Learning is primarily learning conducted via electronic media, typically on the Internet. The current situation of education in general and especially of e-learning in several developing countries is quite poor right now. The reason why the quality of e-learning is so low, is due to many factors. That includes the fact that  higher priority is given to quantity against quality of material taught. There is little effort to update existing curricula, which causes communities to be stuck in the past, not adopting new teaching methods and techniques, that could make learning easier. However, the poor usage of modern technologies in and outside classrooms isn’t only due to the fact that there hasn’t been any updating of the curricula, but also the lack of financial and technological resources. Interactive teaching and teamwork in classrooms are also being neglected in many developing countries.

I’d like to look at a company who has been helping developing countries and e-learning. Computer Aid was founded in 1998 and is one of the leading ICT for Development organizations (ICT4D). They work closely with communities in developing countries, ensuring that ICT is properly integrated into curriculums. Since their founding, they have brought access to technology to over 1 million children and adults with over 1 billion hours of internet access.

Next, I’d like to look at a project that Computer Aid has been working on for a while now. Sierra Leone is a country that suffers from poor infrastructure and low education standards especially in rural areas. It’s one of the world’s poorest countries, ranking 180th out of 187 in the Human Development Index. The city that Computer Aid chose to work with, is called Moyamba. In Moyamba, thee pupil to teacher ratio is 50:1  and only 60% of students are the right age for the grade they’re in. All of this speaks for the fact that the educational system in Moyamba isn’t working. The region faces regression due to many things, for example the tragic wave of Ebola.

I would like to go over some of the main points of the program that Computer Aid has put in place in order to help the community. 10 primary and secondary schools will be provided with IT learning facilities for the first time ever. This will enable IT literacy for up to 12,000 students in the next 3-4 years, helping them to secure skilled employment in later life. Computer Aid has also negotiated free internet connectivity for each of the program’s 10 schools, as part of their partnership with Sierra Leone’s Njala University. The Amadeus IT Group is also part of the collaboration, providing over 100 computers, which Computer Aid then has refurbished and delivered to the project.

A question that I then asked myself is; how do we know that all this help is actually working? Doing some research, I found a case study, which explored how the progress is monitored. They found that public schools and universities in almost all developing countries have no accreditation by internationally acknowledged organizations. Almost all public universities in developing countries are not applying any kind of quality assurance of education and e-learning. Finally, very few private universities in some developing countries are applying quality assurance of education through internationally acknowledged institutions. So what is it that should be done in order to ensure quality education? I feel that adopting international measures of quality assurance would help assure the quality of e-learning more than anything else. The case study came to the same conclusion.

My sources:

“Closing The Gap In Sierra Leone a Project by Computer Aid International.”The Big Give. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Oct. 2016.

Gampell, Nicola. “Amadeus and Computer Aid Support Digital Inclusion in Sierra Leone – Amadeus Corporate Blog.” Amadeus Corporate Blog. N.p., 13 Oct. 2016. Web. 25 Oct. 2016.

Moussa, Nabil, and Sandra Moussa. “Quality Assurance of E-learning in Developing Countries.” Nonlinear Analysis: Theory, Methods & Applications 71.12 (2009): E32-34. ScienceDirect. Web. 24 Oct. 2016.

“Our Projects.” Charity. N.p., 2015. Web. 24 Oct. 2016.

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