Technology Salon

Washington DC

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a discussion at the intersection of technology and development

eLearning’s Promise: Will New Models Scale to Educate Youth?

Young people make up 18% of the world’s population today, or 1.2 billion in absolute terms. Of these 15-24 year-olds, 87% live in developing countries. At the same time, their basic educational needs are not being met. More than one-third of all youth around the world are not in the classroom – 73% of youth in sub-Saharan Africa and 51% in South and West Asia.

Yet developing world governments cannot expand traditional educational facilitates to these youth or the even larger cohort behind them. Demand for higher education in Asia and Africa will grow from 48 million enrollments in 1990 to 159 million enrollments in 2025, but India spent only 3.2% of GDP in 2005 on education, ranking it 140th of 180 countries tracked by the CIA World Factbook.

Look at that eLearning idea

The inability of developing countries to meet the demand for quality secondary and higher education has a direct impact on economic growth. Researchers at Harvard University estimate that:

“a one-year increase in tertiary education stock would raise the long-run steady-state level of GDP of Africa GDP per capita due to factor inputs by 12.2%.”

So improving access to higher education is one of the best investments that donor agencies, foundations, and governments can make. Now what if it were possible to nearly double the number of secondary and university seats in a developing country overnight and with relatively little investment from the public sector?

Steve Schmida, founder of SSG Advisors, believes that eLearning – the provision of educational opportunities via information and communication technologies – could have that kind of scale with recent advances in electronic content creation and the proliferation of technology devices. He’s developed ideas around the three main questions eLearning models bring forth:

  1. What do these new eLearning pedagogical models look like?
  2. How can new business models make eLearning services affordable?
  3. Who will validate or accredit eLearning programs?

Join us in a Technology Salon lead by Steve, that will discuss these three questions with the hope to answer a forth: What effect would scaled eLearning in higher education have on economic growth in Africa and Asia?

eLearning’s Promise: Will New Models Educate Youth?
March DC Technology Salon
Thursday, March 4, 8:30-10am
UN Foundation Conference Room
1800 Mass Avenue, NW, Suite 400
Washington, D.C. 20036 (map)

We’ll have hot coffee and Krispe Kreme donuts for a morning rush, but seating is limited and the UN Foundation is in a secure building. So the first fifteen (15) to RSVP will be confirmed attendance and then there will be a waitlist.

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