Feb 07.2022

Can IoT help Close the Global Education Gap?

Can IoT help Close the Global Education Gap?

Although education is a universal fundamental right, many children in developing countries cannot access it. This article highlights the education challenges in these areas and how IoT can help solve them.

Education technology has become integral to the learning experience in developed countries. Schools are increasingly using connected digital solutions to improve the learning experience and support curriculum development.
However, in most developing countries, the education system lacks access to even the most basic learning facilities – let alone digital learning – and millions of children are unable to receive the education they need to improve their life outcomes. This gap is a prominent factor in the global development crisis because an uneducated workforce cannot meet the demands of a modernizing world.
Fortunately, the Internet of Things can address education disparity by providing the infrastructure and connectivity required to solve some of the most notable learning challenges in the developing world.
Today's article discusses the various education hurdles in the developing world and the possible solutions the Internet of Things provides.

How Can IoT Help Improve Education in Developing Countries?

Education in the developing world is hindered by a diverse range of factors, including high costs, inadequate facilities and personnel, conflict, and insecurity.
On the bright side, IoT's ability to collect and process large volumes of real-time data can be used to improve learning experiences through automation, remote learning, tailored content, and additional educational opportunities.
Below are five of the most notable education challenges in the developing world and how the Internet of Things can help address them.

1. High cost of education

Over the last several decades, many developing countries have established free education policies, which have led to an impressive rise in the number of school-going children. However, many low-income families still struggle to keep their children at school because they cannot afford "compulsory items" like books, pens, uniforms, exam fees, or extra lessons.
Although investing in IoT solutions might seem less a priority than establishing more schools, buying supplies, or hiring teachers, connected devices can help reduce education costs in several notable ways.
For starters, internet-based learning solutions can help increase the number of students served by one school, particularly in urban areas, where internet connectivity via Wi-Fi and mobile networks is more accessible. As a result, governments can reduce operating costs in some schools and transfer the saved resources to areas where more education developments are required.
IoT can also help reduce the cost of school items by automating inventory processes. Moreover, using IoT devices to track attendance can help pinpoint children that might be skipping school due to a lack of learning supplies and give them the help they need.

2. Limited skilled teaching personnel

Teacher effectiveness is an essential success factor in student learning. Yet, many developing countries do not have enough teachers to deliver quality education. The United Nations estimates that 69 million new teachers are needed to achieve universal education. Meanwhile, in one of every three countries, less than 75% of teachers are trained to national standards.
As the developing world establishes plans to hire more teachers, the Internet of Things can help better use the staff already in place. For example, IoT solutions facilitating remote education can connect teachers to a larger pool of students. Meanwhile, tutors teaching basic skills like reading and writing can use automated devices to reiterate lessons and improve success rates.
IoT can also give schools in developing countries the chance to access educators, teaching manuals, and standardized lessons from other parts of the world through virtual classrooms, improving education quality.

3. Inadequate learning facilities

Schools in many developing countries squeeze children into overcrowded or run-down classrooms. Poor sanitation facilities are also a severe concern in the developing world. According to the World Health Organization, 23% of schools worldwide rely on archaic facilities like pit latrines or have no facilities at all.
IoT can help improve the school experience by providing solutions that reduce the strain on resources. For instance, using webcams to link students with teachers remotely can alleviate the need to visit a physical classroom for some lessons. That way, schools can redirect money from constructing new learning spaces to refining existing ones.
Besides freeing up classrooms, connected devices can help automate water and waste management, lighting, pollution, and noise levels. As a result, schools can be safer, more pleasant, and more productive learning environments.

4. Insecurity and conflict

War and crime cause severe disruption to education systems. In addition to the physical destruction of learning facilities, safety deficiency dramatically increases the chances of children underperforming and dropping out of school. The UN reports that nearly 250 million children live in conflict-inflicted countries, and of these, more than 75 million urgently need educational support.
The Internet of Things can help address insecurity and conflict and improve the safety of schools and students. For instance, IoT sensors deployed in insecurity hot spots can detect warning signs like gunfire and shouting and send alerts to security officials, who can then help evacuate students from potential danger.
IoT can also help detect intrusions on school grounds or monitor student behavior for suspicious activity. Automated security systems can automatically lock doors, sound alarms, and notify authorities in times of emergency. Such devices can even be programmed to self-activate when a particular threat is detected nearby, say a group of people wearing a certain uniform color.

5. Exclusion of children with disabilities

Although education is a universal human right, 93 to 150 million children with disabilities struggle to access school. Furthermore, in some of the world's poorest nations, 95% of children with disabilities do not go to school.
This demographic is disadvantaged by a combination of discrimination, inadequate training in inclusive teaching methods, and a lack of accommodative schools. While IoT can do little to counter deliberate discrimination, it can help bring qualified tutors closer to students and improve lesson delivery methods.
Schools can use IoT solutions to accommodate children's varying needs and streamline learning. For example, a student who struggles to see can use a wearable device that receives real-time audio from the teacher. Similarly, a child with a hearing disability can use an app that automatically converts audio to text and displays it on the screen.
IoT solutions can also help reduce the strain on teachers by automating daily tasks like checking attendance and grades, facilitating remote tutoring sessions, and scanning critical documents. That way, they can have more free time to meet the needs of individual students.

Help Close the Global Education Gap with IoT

Technology will continue playing a critical role in education for years to come. With projections suggesting that half the world's youth will have access to a mobile-first internet connection, face-to-face learning will likely take the back seat in favor of IoT-powered online environments.
If you are invested in improving education access and quality, particularly in underserved areas, you can count on IoT2Market for all the IoT products your project requires.
Sign up for a free IoT2Market account today and start browsing through the best IoT solutions and suppliers in the market.

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