Equalizing Access to and Quality of Basic Education-Can ODeL Deliver in Rural Areas?
In most developing countries, and more particularly in Africa, easy access to schools and quality education are not equally distributed geographically. Depending on whether a child or young adult lives in rural or urban settlements, her or his chance to easily access schools and learn valuable knowledge and skills differs; with the scale tipping in favor of the urban centers. This rural-urban divide in equal opportunities to access readily available schools in one’s neighborhood and which provide quality learning as a result of having good teachers and sufficient learning materials, has been subject to multiple policy decisions and experimentations (Glennerster, Kremer, Mbiti and Takavarasha, 2011). Alas, the gap still persists and is exacerbated by many factors, including the inability of governments to generate enough financial resources and human resources to provide infrastructure and trained teachers in all confines of large countries. However, with the advent of ICTs and ODeL one can begin to dream of solving this difficult equation.
Policy Recommendation: (i) provide communication and connectivity infrastructure in rural areas; (ii) equip rural schools with technologies such as computers, TV sets and video and train teachers in the use of e-learning; (iii) initiate/strengthen sensitization campaigns in rural areas on the benefits of good education to stimulate demand for good education India has embarked on a major policy drive to digitize its rural areas in all social and economic aspects of life: Health, agriculture, land reforms, etc. In the State of Gujarat for example, a project called Gyan Gangaat has been launched and aims at providing information, connectivity,