6.8.2 In Rural Areas “Leverage” ELearning – Design for Teachers and Trainers, More than for Low-Income Rural People

IT based educational opportunities are often cited as a ground-breaking opportunity for rural populations because they are physically further away from sources of information and training and less able to pay for training. However, there are many barriers to rural populations accessing the plethora of on-line training and education opportunities. These include low or expensive access to the internet, language and literacy barriers, and the question of the relevance of much of the content of on-line material to rural settings in developing countries. Preliminary success stories indicate that, for the moment, on-line tools have strong capacity to indirectly benefit rural young people by enhancing skills and access to information of the teachers and trainers in schools and workforce development initiatives.   On-line certification opportunities, for example, might be used by vocational training centers to reduce the cost of students having to travel to take certification exams. Or, on-line certification can be integrated into initiatives that support informal-sector career path development. In addition, intermediaries can establish access points for rural youth who are unable to obtain technology and internet access on their own. For example, entrepreneurs or young community leaders might establish internet cafes offering specialized support to job seekers to help them find job listings, apprenticeships and vocation training opportunities geared toward promising job opportunities. Promoters of on-line education also highlight some topics that are in high demand globally, such as learning English, math, financial literacy, typing, Microsoft programs like Word and Excell, entrepreneurship, job readiness, job search skills, and – on the more advanced end - programming.In addition, some funders are supporting local content development, which would exponentially increase the relevance and impact of on-line tools, whether used directly by students or by trainers and other intermediaries.

Arnest Sebbumba, Countryside Youth Foundation

Arnest Sebbumba transformed his family farm using business planning and basic technology improvements. A relatively educated young man, Arnest finds solutions and services using the internet. In 2012, he launched a community-based organization to help other young farmers (mostly men “by default”) in his rural Ugandan community.

“I had observed that my peers, who had no agribusiness education, were not behaving in economically rational ways. As this was severely affecting the standard of living among youth in my local community, I set about looking for solutions. The organization, Countryside Youth Foundation (CSYF) allows me to share with others ... CSYF provides agrarian youth in my home district with increased access to information through publications provided by the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation.”[1]

Arnest accesses information on behalf of community farmers via the Internet, and he trains the keen, literate ones to use the Internet themselves.

[1] Sebbumba, 2013