Revolutionizing the way an entire continent thinks about education is hardly a one-size-fits-all solution, but eLearning is definitely coming close: As Sub-Saharan African nations set their sights on making education more accessible for everyone, learning applications such as MOOCs and online post-secondary schools are filling an obvious gap that has long since plagued the area.
A sudden push from legislators, educational institutions, and social vigilantes has highlighted both the need for developed eLearning programs and the opportunity for a previously untapped market. Learn how eLearning is poised to create an educational revolution in Africa and its North American influence becomes more apparent.
Improving Post-Secondary Attendance Rates
Africa suffers from the lowest post-secondary attendance rates of any inhabited continent: Only 7 percent of residents attend college or university. And of those, only a small portion actually graduate. The problem isn’t strictly limited to knowledge and skills, either. Bakary Diallo, director of the African Virtual University (AVU) attributes some of the area’s most fundamental problems to a low post-secondary education rate. “Poverty, violence, extremism,” he says, “I think the root of these problems is lack of education.”
Even those who make it to post-secondary schools aren’t guaranteed a diploma. According to The Anderson Group of Harvard, certain areas are hit hard by skyrocketing attrition rates in STEM subjects. The Central African Republic, for example, experiences a 95 percent dropout rate for post-secondary mathematics. These high failure rates in vital STEM subjects creates a worrisome shortage of professionals such as engineers, researchers, and medical professionals in an area in desperate need of them.
It’s not hard to see why eLearning has emerged as the solution for high dropout rates, low STEM participation, and a general lack of post-secondary education in Sub-Saharan Africa. It effectively addresses the majority of limitations faced by residents. As long as an Internet-ready device is available, students can participate in programs from all over the world; from a basic math class to obtaining a degree using eLearning exclusively.
Self-paced eLearning products and programs have the most promise for African applications. Because of the unique circumstances surrounding students, being able to take courses when and where they want is a priority. Still, the area suffers from a high rate of withdrawal, so there is still work to be done in not only delivering eLearning, but ensuring that students complete the courses for which they register.
As an industry in Africa, eLearning is expected to enjoy a 15.2 percent growth rate this year, making eLearning a $512.7 million dollar industry there by 2016. Effectively, it’s the highest eLearning growth rate in the world. From better-educated to health care workers to a rehabbed post-secondary attendance rate, eLearning has the power to break down some of the barriers that have prevented the continent access to high-quality education in years past.
Imagine what it could do for you.